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Full text of "The poems of François Villon. Translated by H. de Vere Stacpoole"

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A Romance of Old Paris 

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An Irresistible Study of Evolution 

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J. J. Little &Ivcs Co. 
New York 

THE two Testaments of Franois Villon 
with a running commentary and notes, 
also the ballades of the Grand Testament 
translated into English with a translation 
of various Ballades and Rondeaux from 
the general poems. 




THE PARIS or 1456 . ... 1 











THE FlLLES DE JoiE ... 30 







REQUEST ..... 35 
















PERDUZ ..... 49 



EVIL LIFE ..... 51 

LAYS 53 

EPITAPH . . . . . .54 

RONDEL ...... 55 

BALLADE ...... 56 



FRIENDS ..... 60 



RONDEL ...... 64 

RONDEL . . . . . .65 








FRAN90is VILLON . . . .71 













DAME . . . 



BALLADE ...... 



MARGOT ..... 

DUZ ...... 













tUJOJf fW VOKXE 9E " AT,T. AT>^ v 



/~\PENING the Petit Testament is like 
^^ opening a window on to Old Paris. 
The air of winter blows at once in your 

En ce temps que j'ay devant 
Sur le Noel, morte saison. 

The cry of the wolf sniffing the wind 
at the city gates crosses the Christmas 
bells. Spires, chimney-pots, weathercocks, 
house-gables, cut the freezing sky; the 
windmills of Petit Gentilli stand stark and 
still as if menacing the always hungry city, 
and fronting Gentilli the windmills of Pin- 
court fling their arms to the air. 

Shivering and fascinated one listens and 
looks, till at last, by some alchemy, one 
finds oneself in those forgotten streets, 

Paris 1456 

where dusk and dim lanterns struggle to- 
gether, and the sudden blaze of a torch 
carried by at a run shows a crowd that 
is at once a crowd and a shadow. Beggars, 
prostitutes, tramps, thieves, priests, and 
honest citizens all those who were once 
human beings go about their business in 
that freezing dusk which clings still to the 
opening and closing lines of the Petit 

The litter of the woman of fashion 
passes, carried by lackeys up to their 
ankles in filth. The vulture profile of the 
Arbaletrier and the frozen beard sticking 
brush-like from his face, gold of baldrick, 
horror of rags all are lit by the running 

You turn a corner and the bells hit you 
in the face; they seem whipped to life by 
the wind from the north; you cross the 
Petit Pont, to the Cite, and the Rue de 
la Juiverie lies before you, with the 
Church of the Madeleine on one side of it 
and the Pomme de Pin on the other. 

The Pomme de Pin casts its light right 
out to the road-way. It is the most 
notable public-house in Paris, and mixed 
( 2 ) 

Paris 1456 

with the bells of St. Merri and the carillon 
of St. Landry the voice of the Pomme 
comes like the crackling of thorns beneath 
a pot of mulling wine. There you will 
find Francois Villon warming his hands 
at the fire, thawing the frost and the Uni- 
versity out of his blood, and cracking 
jokes with friends and strangers, whilst 
Robin Turgis serves the drink. Fournier, 
the Lieutenant Criminel, shows his ugly 
face at the door; Guillaume Cotin and 
Thibault de Vitry look in; the place 
becomes crowded with students of the 
University, each one entering blue with 
cold and each one leaving red with wine. 

Dusk is the fashionable hour at the 
Pomme de Pin, night at the Abreuvoir 
Popin. The Abreuvoir Popin is one of 
those tragic places that possess evil per- 
sonalities of their own. It is a watering- 
place for horses just by the Petit Pont, 
and in summer it is frequented by black- 
guard boys, courtesans, thieves, coiners, 
students broken from the University, and 
disfrocked priests. In winter the tavern 
beside it is crammed. Here you will find 
Jehan le Loup and Casin Cholet, duck- 

( 3 ) 

Paris 1456 

thieves; Regnier de Montigny, Colin de 
Cayeux, Guy Tabary, Dom Nicholas, 
Petit-Jehan, and Thibault the goldsmith 
all robbers, and worse. 

We can see them drinking together with 
Villon in their midst, discussing the small- 
est and the meanest matters, unconscious 
of the immortality he is to give them, and 
which they would sell for a bottle of wine. 


The Paris of Villon, armed, spinous, 
belted by the waU of Charles V., was 
divided into three quarters: the Uni- 
versity, the Cite, and the Ville. The 
University, a solid mass of slated roofs, 
covered the left bank of the Seine from 
the Tournelle to the tower of Nesle and 
spread over the hill of St. Genevieve; 
the Cite, with its twenty-one churches, cov- 
ered the island of the Cite, and the Ville 
covered the right bank with its gardens and 
palaces. Around this city of a thousand 
churches 1 and ten thousand houses, all 

1 Figurative. 

Paris 1456 

fused and huddled together as if for 
warmth and protection, were the stray 
towers and windmills of the suburbs of 
Gentilli, Pincourt, Porcherons, and Ville 

The Cour des Miracles was situated in 
the Ville. This nightmare place, so vividly 
painted by Hugo, must have been known to 
Villon it recruited from the University as 
well as from the Church. Shaped like a 
market-square, it was surrounded by rook- 
eries populated by robbers, beggars, petty 
thieves, and cut-throats; by gipsies, Jews, 
and Christians. It broke through the ruined 
wall of the Ville, and some of the towers of 
the wall were used as taverns and houses of 
ill repute. Teeming with people by night, 
lit by bonfires, unapproachable even by the 
archers of the watch, the Cour des Miracles, 
like a terrible lantern, lights the Paris of 
Villon for the understanding. Where such 
a place could be, all things might be, and 
most things unspeakable were. 

The Pomme de Pin, the Abreuvoir 
Popin, and the Cour des Miracles were but 
three rungs in a ladder. The student who 
began by drinking at the Pomme often 

( 5 ) 

Paris 1456 

ended by sleeping in the Cour des Miracles. 
Villon fell into the pit at Meun-sur-Loire 
in the prison of Thibault d'Aussigny but 
he at least escaped from falling into the 
Cour des Miracles. 

The Ville, among its other important 
buildings, held the Louvre and the Hotel 
de Ville; it was a much more extensive and 
less densely populated quarter than either 
that of the Cite or the University. Though 
it held the Cour des Miracles, it held also 
some of the finest houses in Paris. On the 
Seine bank lay the Hotel de Jouy and the 
Hotels de Sens and Barbeau; the Queen's 
Palace and the Abbey of the Celestins were 
also here. Behind these lay the vast grounds 
of the Hotel St. Pol, owned by the King of 
France. Farther afield rose to view the 
Logis d'Angouleme and the spires and 
towers of the palace of the Tournelles. To 
the right of the Tournelles, grim and black, 
stood the Bastille. 

The centre of the Ville was occupied by 
poor houses. Here lay the Halles and the 
pillory and the Croix de Trahoir. The great 
semicircle of the Ville also included a place 
which, like the Cour des Miracles, throws a 
( 6 ) 

Paris 1456 

sinister light on the Paris of Villon the 
Marche au Pourceaux, where was situated 
the cauldron in which coiners were boiled 


Unlike the Ville, the Cite was simply 
crusted with buildings mostly churches. 
Notre-Dame, like a mother, seemed to have 
gathered them all around her. In front of 
the great Cathedral the houses had cleared 
a space, and the Parvis of Notre-Dame, 
into which three streets emptied, must have 
been a sight on a feast-day and coloured by 
the life of the Ville, the Cite, and the Uni- 
versity. Charlemagne, who laid the first 
stone of the Cathedral, has a place in the 
verse of Villon, and a whiff of incense from 
the great old church seems to stray across 
that ballade written by Villon for his 

Notre-Dame, like the Cour des Miracles, 
also holds its lamp to the city of the poet, 
illuminating other things than the tenebrous 
and vile. 

Here on the Cite was also situated the 

( 7 ) 

Paris 1456 

Palais de Justice at which Villon looks 
askant; the Palace of the Bishop, at which 
we may fancy him turning up his nose; the 
Hotel-Dieu on the Parvis; and the Hotel 
de Juvenal des Urcins that chronicler of 


Crossing over from the city to the Uni- 
versity by the Petit Pont, one passed the 
gateway of the Petit Chatelet and found 
oneself in a maze of streets. Streets, streets 
some narrow, some fairly broad; some 
cutting through rookeries alive with stu- 
dents, some giving frontage to the colleges, 
forty-two in number, and spired and domed 
with the spires and domes of fantasy and the 
Middle Ages. 

One passed abbeys and splendid hotels 
the Hotel de Cluny was here, and the Logis 
de Nevers, the Logis de Rome, and the 
Logis de Rheims till, elbowing churchmen 
and students, one at last arrived at the 
church of St. Benoist-le-Bien-tourne, near 
the Sorbonne. 

The Church of St. Benoist had a double 

( 8 ) 


influence on the life of Francois des Loges, 
otherwise known as Francois Villon. It was 
Guillaume Villon, a chaplain of St. Benoist, 
who adopted Fra^ois des Loges and gave 
him his name and shelter in his house, the 
Porte Rouge, situated in the cloister of St. 

It was in front of St. Benoist one fine 
evening that Francois Villon, sitting on a 
stone and conversing with Gilles, a priest, 
and one named Ysabeau, was accosted by 
Philippe Chermoye, also a priest. In the 
altercation that ensued Villon struck Cher- 
moye so that he died, a crime if crime it 
was which sent Villon to exile, and helped 
to give us the "Epistre, en forme de ballade, 

a ses amis." 


Nearly everything in life gave Villon a 
ballade; if not, a rondel; if not, a verse. 
A tavern, a church, the picture of a saint, 
a friend, an enemy, himself, his old mother, 
or Casin Cholet the duck-thief all found 
expression in his genius. He was the voice 
of Old Paris, and, of all the voices of her 

( 9 ) 


bells and her people, the only living voice 
to reach us. Yet he is enough, for he speaks 
for them all for the rioters in the taverns, 
for the chattering girls, for the courtesan 
grown old; for his mother, so clearly that 
we can see her in the church where she wor- 
shipped; for the creaking gibbet and the 
howling wolf. There is scarcely a friend 
that he has forgotten or an enemy he has 
missed; and he is frank as day about him- 

He says horrible things, he says sordid 
things, and he says beautiful things, but he 
says one thing always the truth, and his 
lamentations are real no less when he is 
lamenting his own fate than the fate of the 
women who have vanished from the world. 

Considering the times in which he lived, 
he is wonderfully clean-spoken and devoid 
of brutality. Remember, that in the Paris 
of 1456 they boiled malefactors alive in the 
cauldron of the swine-market, the grave- 
yards at night were the haunts of debauch- 
ery, priests and nuns helped in the recruiting 
of the army of Crime, and the students of 
the University were often reduced to beg- 
ging their bread from door to door. He, in 

( 10 ) 


his personal life, had been hardly dealt with. 
He killed Chermoye; and who was Cher- 
moye? a priest armed with a dagger. He 
was a robber, but he was a robber in an age 
of robbers. God made him a robber, it is 
true ; but at least let us thank God that He 
did not make him a tradesman. He was a 
robber, but he was compassionate towards 
children and women grown old see 
amongst other things, the ballade written 
for his mother and many of the verses of the 
Testaments ; and it is this feeling for things 
weak and humble and ruined that lends his 
verse a grace greater even than the grace 
lent to it by his genius. To arrive at a true 
estimate of the man we must look, not at his 
actions, of which we know little, but at the 
expressions of his mind which lie before us in 
his poems. The "Ballade des Pendus" is 
his masterpiece. It is his naked soul speak- 
ing in the shadow of death. Yet it is a 
prayer, not for himself alone, but for his 
companions, and not for his companions 
alone but for all the men hanging on the gib- 
bets of France. 

In ballade after ballade, including the 
"Ballade de Grosse Margot," he has written 


down lust and ill-living for what they are 
worth, and of that perfect love whose blos- 
som is affection, who has written more beau- 
tifully than he in the "Ballade of the Bride- 
groom "? He knows that little children like 
cakes better than lessons, and that grown 
men are just like little children in this re- 
spect; he lends his genius alike to an old, 
pious woman proclaiming her simple faith, 
and to an old light-o'-love, lamenting her 
lost youth. His pictures never err, his mor- 
ality never wearies, his sympathy never 
turns to sentiment, he is sad but never 

And of this sane and superb mind critics, 
with a few exceptions, have written as 
though it were the mind of a petty thief 
with a turn for verse, or of a decadent poet 
who had turned to theft, whilst Gautier has 
placed its owner in the secondary ranks of 
poets. Gautier! as though an enamel of 
Petito were to place the position in art of 
some dim yet living marble man from 

We have not even a portrait of Villon; if 
we had I would swear it showed a better 
face than the swine face of Rabelais. 

( 12 ) 


Rabelais, a great genius who rolls in ordure 
and honour, whilst Villon, a greater, walks 
despised by people who call themselves 
honest men. 

When Auguste Longnon, searching 
amidst the archives of the Chatelet de Paris 
and the Bibliotheque de la Sorbonne, discov- 
ered that Villon had many friends who were 
thieves, he did a great disservice to litera- 
ture, inasmuch as he incited Robert Louis 
Stevenson to write his lamentable article on 
Villon. How so great a man could have put 
his hand to so mean a work must ever remain 
one of the mysteries of life. Without char- 
ity there is no understanding, and without 
understanding you may look in vain for 

Ayez pitie, Ayez pitie de moy. 

A tout les moms, si vous plaist, mes amis ! 

The Ballades 


Villon was born in the year 1431. He 
died on some date unknown. His manner 
of living, how much he drank, what people 
he robbed, his love-affairs, his companions 
and their status in life all these things are 
only of interest to us as foot-notes to his 
literary work, and all these things first 
verified should be set forth without com- 

When a man is living and breathing no 
other man may dare to attack his reputa- 
tion; only when he is defenceless through 
death may the literary kites assemble to dig 
in his eyes and entrails and make profit out 
of the corpse of his life and reputation; 
and a corpse, over four hundred years a 
corpse, may surely be left at peace, even by 

Villon is the greatest and truest of 
French verse-writers, and if you doubt my 
word look at his star, which is only now in 
true ascension, after nearly half a thousand 
years. He is the only French poet who is 
entirely real; all the rest are tinged with 
artifice, and his reality is never more vividly 


The Ballades 

apparent than when it is conveyed in the 
most artificial and difficult form of verse. 

The ballade, in the hands of this supreme 
master, is capable of producing the most 
astonishing results. It is now the perfect 
necklace that fits the throat of Thais, and, 
now the noose that swings from the gibbet. 
He only requires thirty-seven lines to say 
about women what Zola has prosily said in 
five volumes, and only twenty-eight lines to 
write the epitaph of all the women who have 
ever lived. Villon is the most modern of the 
moderns; his verse, with the gibbets re- 
moved, might have been written in the Paris 
of to-day, and in any civilisation to follow 
ours he will hold the same high place; for it 
is his essential that the forms of his genius 
are the concretions of eternal principles, not 
the flowery expansions of ephemeral moods. 

jfrereefjumatns qui apted uo^ Siucc 
jOayfj fee cueucc contte no 9 enfiuwifc 

ue mrrrie 
i>oii6 n ous fio if e rp a tatfjce a/I q fi$* 
2uc]( Dcfarfmi ^ tropauos/ioiicne 
1 fc|i piera bcuoticcc c( om tic 
ct no 9 Ic 

c\uc (ouen<Mi*Suci? 


A contemporary woodcut illustration, with the opening lines of 
Villon's Ballade des Pendus, from one of the earliest 
editions of his poems, published in 1490. 

Epitaph in Form of a Ballade 

(La Ballade des pendus) 

Which was made by Villon for himself and his 
companions whilst waiting with them expecting 
to be hanged. 

O BROTHER men who after us shall 
Let not your hearts against us hardened 


For all the pity unto us ye give 
God will return in mercy unto ye; 
We five or six here swinging from the tree, 
Behold, and all our flesh, that once was 


Rotted, and eaten by the beaks that tear, 
Whilst we the bones to dust and ash dis- 

Let no man mock us, or the fate we bear; 
But pray to God that He may us absolve. 

( 17 ) 

Epitaph in Form of a Ballade 

O brothers, hear us and do not receive 
Our lamentations in disdain, though we 
Came here by justice ; for all men that live 
Are not born into good sense equally. 
Make intercession for us, graciously, 
With Him whose life the Virgin once did 


That His grace comes to us as water clear, 
Nor hell's destructions on our heads de- 
Dead are we, and as dead men leave us 

But pray to God that He may us absolve. 

The rain has washed us as we'd been alive, 
The sun has dried and blackened us ye see. 
The pies and crows that all around us strive 
Leave us of eyes and beard and eyebrows 


Never from torment have we sanctuary, 
Ever and always driven here and there, 
At the winds' will, and every change of air. 
More dented than the fruit that beaks 

Men! gaze on us, be warned, and onward 

But pray to God that He may us absolve. 

( 18 ) 

Epi tap/i in Form of a Ballade 


Prince Jesus, Lord of all, have us in care, 
And keep from us the fires of hell that 

Lest those dread fires our fate and future 


O brothers, make no mock of what we are, 
But pray to God that He may us absolve. 

Ballade of Vanished Ladies 

(Ballade des dames du temps jadls) 

NOW say in what land is she, 
Fair Flora of Rome? Again, 
Where may Hypparchia be, 
With Thais, in grace germane? 
Where's Echo, than mortal slain 
Fairer, a voice that goes 
O'er river and meer of rain? 
But where are the last year's snows? 

And where is that learned Heloise 
Whom Abelard loved in vain, 
Losing at Saint Denys 
Manhood in grievous pain? 
And the queen who did ordain 
For Buridan his repose, 
Cast in a sack to Seine? 
But where are the last year's snows! 
( 20 ) 

Ballade of Vanished Ladies 

The White Queen fair to see, 
Whose song was a siren's strain; 
Beatrix, Berthe, Alys ; 
Harembourges, who held le Mayne? 
Joan, the good maid of Lorraine, 
Burned by the English foes; 
Virgin! where are they ta'en? 
But where are the last year's snows! 


Prince, of these women slain 
Ask not this year who knows 
Where are they? take the refrain: 
But where are the last year's snows! 

Ballade of Vanished Lords 

(Ballade des seigneurs du temps jadis) 

AND more that Pope the third Calixte 
Last of his name, where is he gone, 
Who four years held the Papalist? 
Where's Alphonse, King of Aragon. 
The gracious lord Duke of Bourbon, 
And Artus, Duke of broad Bretagne, 
And Charles the seventh named "Le Bon"? 
But where is now brave Charlemagne! 

Also that Scottish king of mist 
And rain, with half his face, saith one, 
Vermillion like an amethyst, 
Painted from chin right up to crown. 
The Cyprian king of old renown, 
Alas ! and that good king of Spain, 
Whose name hath from my memory flown? 
But where is now brave Charlemagne! 
( 22 ) 

Ballade of Vanished Lords 

I say no more, let me desist 

In useless quest of things undone, 

For none may pallid Death resist 

Or find in law evasion. 

One question more and I have done: 

Where's Launcelot, ruler of Behaigne, 

With 1 Sigismund, beneath what sun? 

But where is now brave Charlemagne! 


Where's Claquin now, the good Breton? 
Where's the Count Dauphin D'Auvergne, 
The last good Duke D'Alen^on? 
But where is now brave Charlemagne! 

1 The original runs : "Ou est-il ? Ou est son 
tayon?" The tayon, or maternal grandfather of 
Launcelot of Behaigne (Ladislas of Bohemia), was 
the Emperor Sigismund. 

Ballade of Vanished Lords 

{Ballade des seigneurs du temps jadis) 


/ 1pHE Saints, Apostles, where are they, 
Vestured in albs and each one stoled 
In amict; who by neck did lay; 
All sinners by the fiend controlled? 
And even as these are gone, behold, 
So all must go their fate to find, 
Servants and sons, and young and old: 
So much carries away the wind. 

And Constantine's successor say, 
Where is he with his hands of gold? 
And the French king who stands for ay 
Above all kings whose tales are told; 
Who, praising God and saintly souled, 
Built convents, and high altars shrined? 
Where are the names of these enrolled? 
So much carries away the wind. 
(24 ) 

Ballade of Vanished Lords 

And where lie now the Dauphins, pray, 

Of Vienne and Grenoble, cold? 

The Lords of Dijon, Salins, aye, 

And Dolles and others manifold? 

Their trumpeters and heralds bold, 

Pursuivants, men of every kind? 

Are not their mouths well filled with 

So much carries away the wind. 


By Death are princes all controlled, 
Ev'n as by Death the herd and hind, 
And all at last come to his fold. 
So much carries away the wind. 

The Lament of L,a Belle Heaul- 


(Les Regrets de la belle heaidndere) 

METHOUGHT I heard the mournful 

Of her who was the town's mistress, 
Lamenting that her youth should die 
And speaking thus in sore distress: 
"Ah foul age, in your bitterness 
And hate, why have you used me so? 
What hinders me in my duress 
Ending this life so useless now? 

"Broken hast thou the spell so fair 
That beauty once gave unto me; 
Merchants and clerks and priests once were 
My slaves, and all men born to see 
Were mine, and paid gold royally 
For that without which hearts must break, 
For that which now, if offered free, 
No thief in all the town would take. 
( 26 ) 

La Belle Heaulmiere 

"And many a man have I refused 
So little wisdom did I show 
For love of one black thief who used 
My youth as bee the flowering bow. 
Though, spite my wiles, I loved him so, 
And gave him that which I had sold, 
For love he paid me many a blow; 
Yet well I know he loved my gold. 

"Though many a blow and many a kick 
He gave me, still my love held true; 
Though he bound faggots stick by stick 
Upon my back, one kiss would do 
To wipe away the bruises blue 
And my forgetfulness to win; 
And how much am I fatter through 
That rogue? whose pay was shame and 

"But he is dead this thirty years, 
And I remain, by age brought low, 
And when I think, alas! in tears 
Of what was then and what is now, 
And when my nakedness I show 
And all my ruined change I see, 
Aged, dried, and withered, none may know 
The rage that fills the heart of mel 
( 27) 

La Belle Heaulmiere 

"Where now is gone my forehead white, 
Those eyebrows arched, that golden hair, 
Those eyes that once, so keen of sight, 
Held all men by their gaze so fair; 
The straight nose, great nor small, and 


Those little ears, that dimpled chin, 
The fine complexion, pale yet clear, 
The mouth just like a rose within? 

"Small shoulders with the grace that dips, 
The long arms and the lovely hands, 
The little breasts, and full-fleshed hips 
That once had strong men's arms for bands, 
High, broad, and fair as fair uplands 
The large reins? 

"The forehead wrinkled, hair turned grey, 
The eyebrows vanished, eyes grown blind 
That once with laughter's light were gay, 
Now gone and never more to find; 
Nose bent as if beneath some wind, 
Ears hanging, mossed with hair unclean, 
Life's colour now to Death's inclined, 
Chin peaked, and lips like weeds from Seine. 
( 28 ) 

La Belle Heaulmiere 

"And so all human beauty ends: 

The arms grown short, the hands grown 


Shoulders like two fair ruined friends, 
The breasts like sacks all shrunken in, 
The flanks that now no gaze could win; 

That's best forgot. 

The thighs that once were firm, like skin 
O'er sausage-meat for stain and spot. 

"So we regret the good old times, 
And squatting round the fire sit we, 
Old tripes, to watch the flame that climbs 
And in the fire our past to see. 
Like sticks to feed a fire we be, 
A fire that soon is Jit and done; 
Yet had we beauty once pardie! 
Which is the tale of many a one." 

Ballade of La Belle Heaulmiere 
to the Filles de jfoie 

(Ballade de la belle heaulmiere aux files de 

NOW hearken, La Belle Gantiere, 
Scholar of mine, to me, 
And Blanche la Savetiere 
Fate in my fortune see. 
Take right and left your fee 
From men, however placed, 
For age-bound women be 
Useless as coin defaced. 

And you, la Saulcissiere 
Who danceth so cunningly, 
Guillemette la Tapissiere, 
Age must your windows free 
Shutter, whilst Love, pardie! 
Turns, as from some old priest, 
Useless for love, as ye, 
Useless as coin defaced. 
( 30 ) 

La Belle Heaulmiere 

Jeannette la Chaperonniere, 
Guard thee from knavery; 
Katherine FEsperonniere 
Turn not a man from thee 
Who pays for thy beauty 
Endures not, and displaced 
Youth leaves Humanity < 
Useless as coin defaced. 


Girls, would you gather why 
My tears and my sighs I waste? 
Behold me, as here I lie 
Useless as coin defaced. 

Double Ballade of Good Counsel 

(Double ballade sur le mesme propos) 

GO, love as much as love you will, 
And forth to feasts and banquets 

Yet at the end there comes the bill, 
And broken heads at break of day. 
For light loves make men beasts of prey, 
They bent towards idols, Solomon, 
From Samson took his eyes away. 
Happy is he not so undone. 

For this did Orpheus, who could thrill 
With pipe and flute the mountains grey, 
Come near to death where stands to kill 
Four-headed Cerberus at bay; 
Also Narcissus, fair as May, 
Who in a deep, dark pool did drown 
For love of light loves fair and gay. 
Happy is he not so undone. 
( 32 ) 

Double Ballade of Good Counsel 

Sardana, praised in knighthood still, 
Who conquered Crete, did yet betray 
His manhood, nor disdained the frill 
And skirt for this or so they say. 
King David, great in prophecy, 
Forgot his God for sight of one 
Who, washing, did her thigh display. 
Happy is he not so undone. 

And Amnon was a man until 
Foul love cast him in disarray; 
Feigning to eat of tarts, his skill 
Overcame his sister till she lay 
Dishonoured, which was incest, aye, 
Most foul. See Herod, who made John 
Headless, beneath a dancer's sway. 
Happy is he not so undone. 

Next of myself most bitter pill 
I, thrashed as washerwomen bray 
Their clothes, in nature's deshabille 
Stood nakedly and wherefore, pray? 
Ask Katherine of Vaucelles, malgre 
Noe had most part of the fun. 
Such wedding gloves no loves repay; 
Happy is he not so undone. 
( 33 ) 

Double Ballade of Good Counsel 

But that young man impressible, 
Turn him from those young maidens, nay, 
Burn him upon the witches' hill, 
He'd turn in burning to the fray. 
They're sweet to him as civit aye, 
But trust them and your peace is gone; 
Brunette or blonde one law obey. 
Happy is he not so undone. 

Ballade Written for his Mother 
at her Request 

(Ballade que feit Villon a la requeste de sa mere) 

T ADY of Heaven, earthly Queen, 

* ' Who hath all hell in empiry, 

Receive a humble Christian 

Whose prayer it is to dwell with thee. 

Though I am worthless, as you see, 

Thy boundless grace, that I would win, 

Is greater far than my great sin. 

None sans that grace, unless I lie, 

The gates of heaven may enter in. 

And in this faith I live and die. 

Say to thy Son, on Him I lean, 
His grace shall wash my sins from me, 
He who forgave t' Egyptian; 
Theophilus, also, though he 
Long time was held in Satan's fee. 
( 35 ) 

Ballade Written for his Mother 

Preserve me that my soul within 
Finds joy where sorrow long hath bin, 
Virgin, through whose grace even I 
May touch God through the wafer thin. 
And in this faith I live and die. 

A poor old woman old and lean 

Am I, who know not letters three, 

Yet in the cloister have I seen 

Heaven in those pictures heavenly. 

Where saints and angels ever be 

With harps and lutes, and, 'neath their din, 

A hell with sinners scorched of skin, 

'Twixt joy and fear to thee I fly 

Who savest sinners from hell's gin. 

And in this faith I live and die. 


Thou didst conceive, Princess Virgin, 
Jesus, for whom no years begin 
Nor end, and who from heaven did spin, 
His robe from out our frailty. 
Offering to death His youth I ween 
He is our Lord, to us akin, 
And in this faith I live and die. 

( 36 ) 

Ballade of Villon to his Mistress 

(Ballade de Villon a s'amye) 

\ T^ALSE beauty, that has cost me dear, 
-F Rude in effect, deceiving sweet, 
Love that is more than steel severe, 
Name whose letters spell my defeat. 
Ruinous charms that my heart did eat, 
Pride that kills men cruelly, 
Pitiless eyes, will her heart not yet 
Turn from disdain and succour me? 

Better for me to seek elsewhere; 
Well I know that, when at her feet, 
Love I can drop no more than care; 
Sure 'tis no shame to make retreat. 
Haro! unto the small and great 
I cry for help, but none I see. 
I die, unless that she regret, 
Turn from disdain and succour me. 

( 37 ) 

Ballade of Villon to his Mistress 

Yet time will yellow turn and sere 
Thy face, now like a rose complete. 
Then at its running I shall jeer- 
But no for age, that all must meet, 
Will have me too ; so ere the heat 
Of summer is past and winter be 
And whilst thy beauty still doth wait 
Turn from disdain and succour me. 


True Prince of Love, who from thy seat 
Over all lovers hath empiry, 
This prayer for all true hearts is meet: 
Turn from disdain and succour me. 

Lay; or, rather^ Rondeau 

(JLay, ou plus tost rondeau) 

T\ E ATH, I cry out against thee 
-*^' Who hast taken my lady away ; 
Thy cruelty nought will allay 
Till thou takest the life-blood of me. 

I have strength nor desire and she! 
What harm did she unto thee say? 

We were two, yet but one heart had we. 
It is dead, and I die, or here stay, 
Living, yet lifeless alway, 
As the statues without hearts that be, 

Ballade and Prayer 

(Ballade et oraison) 

FATHER Noah, who planted the vine; 
You also Lot, who drank merrily, 
And who 'neath the glamour of drink divine 
Tasted your daughters' virginity 
(Though nought of reproach I make, not 

Architriclin, who made drink an art 

I pray you three to this toast reply, 

The soul of the good master Jehan Cotart. 

Born of your lineage and your line, 

He drank of the best and of price most 


Never had he a sou to shine, 
Yet good wine always could he descry. 
Drinkers never yet found him shy, 
None from his pot could make him part. 
Noble lords, let no man decry 
The soul of the good master Jehan Cotart. 
( 40 ) 

Ballade and Prayer 

Oft have I seen him totter and twine 

When he'd go off on his bed to lie. 

He banged his head when once in wine 

On a butcher's stall, and was like to die. 

High or low, or far or nigh, 

Never such drinker could match your heart. 

So let it in if you hear it sigh, 

The soul of the good master Jehan Cotart. 


Prince, 'twas ever and ay his cry, 

ff Haro! Lord! how my throat does smart!" 

Pray where it is 'tis no longer dry, 

The soul of the good master Jehan Cotart. 

The Ballade of the Bridegroom 

(Ballade que Villon dorma a un gentilhomme 
nouvellement marie) 

The two first verses give in acrostic the name Am- 
broise de Lorede, in the original and also in the 

AT dawn of day the hawk claps wing, 
Moved by his life's nobility 
Before the day his song to fling, 
Returns, and to the lure sweeps he. 
Over you thus desire leads me, 
Joyous, and, striking towards you, fleet, 
Swiftly to take love's food from thee. 
Espoused for this do we two meet. 

Dear one, my heart to thee shall cling 
Ever till Death makes his decree. 
Laurel all victory to bring! 
Olive to make the shadows flee! 
( 42 ) 

The Ballade of the Bridegroom 

Reason has written it that we 
Ever shall find our life complete, 
Devoted thus eternally. 
Espoused for this do we two meet. 

More when to me comes suffering 
Fortune brings such fatality 
Before thy gaze all-conquering, 
Driven like smoke by wind 'twill be. 
And I will loose no husbandry, 
Nor seed sown in thy garden, sweet; 
Its fruit shall hold my imagry. 
Espoused for this do we two meet. 


Princess, behold my fealty. 
Turn eyes ; my heart lies at thy feet. 
Thy heart is mine, mine yours, now see. 
Espoused for this do we two meet. 

[The Bridegroom was Robert d'Estouteville, the 
Bride, Ambroise de Lorede. Ambroise de Lorede 
died only a few years later, see p. 209.] 

Ballade entitled^ "Les Contredictz 
de Franc-Gontier" 

(Ballade intitulee "Les Contredictz de Franc- 

Who was an apostle of the simple life, writing in its 
praise a little book entitled, "Les Dits de Franc- 
Gontier/' which Villon now attacks. 

ON a soft-cushioned couch a fat priest 

Beside a brazier in a room lay he 
With arrased walls, and there, as fair as 


Beside him lay the lady Sydonie. 
They drank of hypocras, and, laughing 

Kissed and took joy with never thought 

or sigh, 

Heedless of death and putting all care by. 
And knew I, even as I spied on these, 
Who cared for nought, there is beneath the 


No treasure but to live and have one's ease. 
( 44 ) 

"Contredictx de Franc-Gontier" 

If Franc-Gontier had always lived that 


With his companion, Helaine, more sweetly 
Would they have lived, unforced, through 

hunger's sway, 
To rub their crusts with onions, he and 

Their cabbage-soup has little charm for 


I mean no ill but, in sincerity, 
Is it not better on a couch to lie 
Than under roses, and the skies that 


Ask me what would I, and I make reply, 
No treasure but to live and have one's 


Eating black bread, or bread of oatmeal 


And drinking water all the year, par die! 
Not all the singing-birds, however gay, 
From here to Babylon on every tree 
Would tempt me for a day for such a fee. 
For God's sake, then, let Franc-Gontier re- 


To Helaine's kisses where the wild birds 


( 45 ) 

"Contr edict* de Franc-Gontier" 

Beneath the eglantine, the summer trees. 
No treasure find I in such husbandry. 
No treasure but to live and have one's ease. 


Prince, on these two opinions cast thine 

But as for me though I would none dis- 

I heard in childhood that man may descry 

No treasure but to live and have one's 


Ballade of the W^omen of Paris 

(Ballade des femmes de Paris) 

'T^AKE those famed for language fair, 

Past, or in the present tense, 
Each good as Love's messenger: 
Florentines, Venetiennes. 
Roman girls, Lombardiennes, 
Girls whose names Geneva carries, 
Piedmont girls, Savoysiennes ; 
No lips speak like those of Paris. 

Though for grace of language are 

Famed the Neapolitans, 

And in chattering Germans share 

Pride of place with Prussians. 

Taking Greeks, Egyptians, 

Austrians, whom no rhyme marries, 

Spanish girls, Castillians; 

No lips speak like those of Paris. 

( 47 ) 

Ballade of the Women of Paris 

Bretonnes, Swiss, their language mar, 

Gascon girls, Toulousiennes ; 

Two fish- fags would close their jar 

On Petit Pont, Lorrainiennes, 

English girls, Calaisiennes 

All the world my memory harries 

Picard girls, Valenciennes; 

No lips speak like those of Paris. 


Prince, to fair Parisiennes 

Give the prize, nor turn where tarries 

One who saith "Italians." 

No lips speak like those of Paris. 

Belle Le$on De Villon aux En 
fans Perdux 

(Belle Lefon de Villon aux ewfans perduz) 

FAIR children, in waste ye strew 
The roses that for you blow. 
My clerks, who can clutch like glue, 

If ye journey to Montipippeau, 
Or Reul, have a care, ye know 

For the dice that there he threw 
Risking a second throw 
Was lost Colin de Caileux. 

This is no little game, 

For body and soul are fee; 
If ye lose, from a death of shame 

Repentance will not save ye. 
And the winner, what gain has he? 

No Dido for wife he's bought. 
Bad, and a fool, must be 

The man who risks all for nought. 
( 49 ) 

Belle Lecon De Villon 

Now listen unto this song, 
For it is the truth I say, 

A barrel will last not long 

By hearth or in woods of May. 

Money soon runs away, 

And when it is spent and gone 

Where is your heritage, pray? 
Evil brings good to none. 

Ballade of Good Doctrine to those 
of Evil Life 

(Ballade de bonne doctrme) 

"Tout aux tavernes et aux files" 

BE ye carriers of bulls, 1 
Cheats at dice whate'er ye be, 
Coiners they who risk like fools, 
Boiling for their felony. 
Traitors perverse so be ye 
Thieves of gold, or virgin's pearls, 
Where goes what ye get in fee? 
All on taverns and on girls. 

Song, jest, cymbals, lutes 
Don these signs of minstrelsy. 
Farce, imbroglio, play of flutes, 
Make in hamlet or city. 
Act in play or mystery, 
Gain at cards, or ninepin hurls. 
All your profits, where go they? 
All on taverns and on girls. 

1 Smugglers of Papal bulls. 
( 51 ) 

Ballade of Good Doctrine 

Turn, before your spirit cools, 
To more honest husbandry; 
Grooms of horses be, or mules, 
Plough the fields and plant the tree. 
If you've no Latinity, 
No more learning than the churls, 
Work nor cast your money free 
All on taverns and on girls. 


Stockings, pourpoint, drapery, 
Every rag that round you furls, 
Ere you've done, will go, you'll see, 
All on taverns and on girls. 


ON return from that hard prison 
Where life near was reft from me, 
If Fate still shows cruelty, 
Judge if she shows not misprision! 
For it seems to me, with reason, 
She hath found satiety, 
On return. 

For the Fate is but unreason, 
That still wills my misery. 
Grant, God! I find sanctuary, 
In Thy house from her dark treason, 
On return! 







EPOSE eternal give to him 

O Lord, and Light that never dies; 
Even unto him whose platter lies 
Empty of meat yea, even to him 
Who standeth bald, in turnip trim, 
Sans beard, sans hair above the eyes. 

Fate sent him forth to exile dim, 
And struck him hard, above the thighs; 
Yet clear he cried, as still he cries, 
"Lord, I appeal!" yea, even to him 


(Ballade pour laquelle Villon crye mercy a 

Chartreux and to Celestins, 
To Mendicants and to devotes, 
To idlers and to cliquepatins, 
To servants and to files mignottes, 
Wearing surcotes and justes cottes, 
To all the young bloods that you see 
Who wear o'er ankles soft-tanned boots: 
To all these folk I cry Mercy! 

To girls whose breasts are naked twins 
To draw to them the eye that gloats, 
To brawlers, clowns whose clamour dins, 
To showmen training their marmottes, 
To Folz and Folles, Sotz and Sottes 
Who pass by whistling frank and free, 
To widows and to mariottes: 
To all these folk I cry Mercy! 
( 56 ) 


Except those traitors chiens mastins! 
Who made me gnaw their rotten crusts 
And drink cold water for my sins 
For whom I care not now three crottes. 
I'd make them (here for words place 

dots) . . .* 

But that I lie here sick, pardie! 
No matter, to avoid their plots, 
To all these folk I cry Mercy! 


So long as their stout ribs get lots 
Of mallet-blows dealt heavily. 
Or strokes from whips with leaden knots, 
To all these folk I cry Mercy! 

1 Unprintable. 

Villon s Last Ballade 

(Ballade pour servir de conclusion) 

HERE is closed the Testament 
And finished of poor Villon. 
Let your steps to his grave be bent 
When you hear the carillon. 
Vesture of crimson don, 
For a martyr of love lies low. 
So .swore he on his callon 1 
When he turned from the world to go. 

And I know what he said he meant, 
Nor lied, who from love was spun 
Like a ball and a wanderer went 
From Paris to Rousillon. 
Leaving a rag upon 
Each hedge for the wind to blow, 
So he swore ere his breath was gone, 
When he turned from the world to go. 

( 58 ) 

Villon s Last Ballade 

And so, with his last sou spent, 
He finished his race anon. 
Whilst yet for his soul's torment 
Love's arrow still spread poison 
In his heart, which was heavy undone; 
And such was his dying woe 
We wondered as looked we on 
When he turned from the world to go. 


Yet, Prince, in his dying swoon 
He turned to the red wine's glow, 
And he drank the red wine down 
When he turned from the world to go. 

(59 ) 

Letter, in Form of a Ballade, to 
his Friends 

(Epistre, en -forme de ballade, a ses amis) 
Written from the pit in Meung 

HAVE pity on me, have pity I pray, 
My friends; may I pray you to grant 

this grace, 

For far from the hawthorn-trees of May 
I am flung in this dungeon in this far 


Of exile, by God and by Fate's disgrace. 
New married and young; girls, lovers that 


Dancers and jugglers that turn the wheel, 
Needle-sharp, quick as a dart each one, 
Voiced like the bells 'midst the hills that 

Will you leave him like this the poor 


( 60 ) 

Letter to his Friends 

Singers who sing without law your lay, 
Laughing and jovial in words and ways; 
Feather-brained folk, yet always gay, 
Who run without coin, good or bad, your 

You have left him too long who is dying 

apace ; 

Makers of ballads for tongues to reel, 
Where lighting shows not nor breezes steal 
Too late you will praise him when he is 

Around whom the walls are like bands of 

steel : 
Will you leave him like this the poor 


Come hither and gaze on his disarray, 
Nobles who know not the tax-man's face, 
Who homage to kings nor emperors pay, 
Only to God in his Paradise. 
Behold him who, Sundays and holidays, 
Fasts till like rakes his teeth reveal. 
Who after crusts, but never a meal, 
Water must suck till his belly's a tun. 
With stool nor bed for his back's appeal: 
Will you leave him like this the poor 
r illon? 

( 61 ) 

Letter to his Friends 


Princes, young, or whom years congeal, 
A pardon I pray with the royal seal; 
Then hoist me in basket the earth upon. 
So even will swine for each other feel, 
And rush to help at the hurt one's squeal: 
Will you leave him like this the poor 


GOOD year! good week! good day! 
Health, joy, and honour with you 

From Better's door to Best pass through, 
And joy in love may God give you. 
And for a New Year's gift, I pray 
A lady than Helaine more gay, 
Whose purse may always gold display; 
Live long without age touching you. 
Good year! good week! good day! 

And when you leave this earthly way 
May heavenly joy your heart repay 
When caught up to the heavenly blue, 
Where one may find the only true 
Bliss, without pain or sorrow grey. 
Good year! good week! good day! 


YOUR memory is death to me, 
My only good the sight of you; 
I swear by all that I hold true 
That joy without you cannot be. 
When I your face no longer view 
I die of sadness, yea pardie! 
Your memory is death to me. 

Alas! sweet sister, fair to see, 
Have pity on me, for with you 
Evil recoils, the sky is blue; 
Without you clouds shade land and sea. 
Your memory is death to me! 


TRUE God of Love, turn here thy gaze, 
Draw death to me through Death's 

dark ways 
More hastily. 

For I have badly used my days ; 

I die of love through Love's delays, 

Most certainly. 

Grief's weariness upon me preys. 

Ballade against the Enemies of 

(Ballade contre les mesdisans de la France) 

may he meet with beasts that 
vomit flame, 
Like Jason, hunter of the Fleece of Gold, 
Or change from man to brute seven years 

the same 

As King Nebuchadnezzar did, or hold 
To heart the times of suffering and pain 
The Trojans held for their princess 


Or have a place as deep as Tantalus 
And Proserpine in hell's infernal house. 
May he, like Job, find grief and suffer- 


Prisoned in the same court with Daedalus, 
Who could wish ill unto the realm of 


( 66 ) 

Ballade against Enemies of France 

For four months let him like the bittern 

Head downward, or to the Grand Turk be 

For money paid right down and with the 

Be harnessed like a bull to till the mould; 

Or thirty sad years, like to Magdalene, 

Live without cloth of wool or linen clean; 

Or let him drown the same as Narcissus; 

Or hang like Absalom by lengthy tress; 

Or swing like Judas, viewed by all ask- 

Let him like Simon Magus die, even thus, 

Who could wish ill unto the realm of 

For him again may days Octavian gleam 
And in his belly molten coin grow cold; 
And like Saint Victor crushed, as by a 

Beneath the mill-wheels may his corpse be 

Or may his breath beneath the deep seas 

Like Jonah's in the body of the whale. 

( 67 ) 

Ballade against Enemies of France 

Let him be banned for ay from fair 


And damned for ay from Venus amorous, 
And cursed by God beyond all utterance, 
Even as old was Sardanapalus, 
Who could wish ill unto the realm of 



Prince, let him forth be borne by ^Eolus 
To Glaucus in that forest far from us 
Where hope nor peace may ever on him 


For he holds nought in him but worthless- 

Who could wish ill unto the realm of 

The Shepherd and the Shepherdess 


An imitation of a Song in Ballade form, attributed to 
Frangois Villon, 1456. 

DEEP in the green woods yesterday 
I, wandering, heard the sweet birds 

The nightingale, clear-voiced alway, 
And yet more clear the lark on wing. 
Returning to my shepherding, 
A song came through the trees to me 
From maids their fair heads garlanding: 
It was the prettiest of the three. 

Passing beneath the trees I found 
Elise and Marion and Margot 
Deep-shadowed where the leaves abound 
Singing beneath a hawthorn's snow. 
I named them each, and, bowing low, 
I prayed and prayed their loves' mercy. 
And one made answer to me, "No." 
It was the prettiest of the three. 
( 69 ) 

The Shepherd and the Shepherdess 

So, standing where the soft shade showers, 
My flask full filled with sorrow's wine, 
Watching- them pluck the gay spring 


I prayed them for me flowers to twine. 
Beneath the hawthorn's shade benign 
One's small hand stole in secrecy 
And placed a bunch of flowers in mine. 
It was the prettiest of the three. 

"And is it so, my shepherd maids? 

So unto you I say good-bye. 

Too proud are ye for these fair glades." 

Then one made answer with a sigh, 

And with a sprig of rosemary 

Said, "Robinet, return to me 

On Monday." Then I caught her eye: 

It was the prettiest of the three. 

nightingale, sweet messenger, 
Sing on beneath the starlit sky 
And with thy clear voice say to her 
That here without her I must die, 
And life for ever from me fly, 
Whilst pallid Death my corpse shall see. 
Fair maid, whom once I loved, good-bye: 

1 hear the prettiest of the three. 

( 70 ) 

The Dispute of the Heart and 
Body of Francois Villon 

Le Debat du Cueur et du Corps de Villon {en 
forme de Ballade) 

WHAT'S that I hear? It is I, thine 

That holds to thee by a little string. 
I have no peace; from my blood I part 
Seeing thee here, a wretched thing, 
Like a dog whining and shivering 
And why do I so? 

For thy pleasures' cost. 
Why shouldst thou care? 

I feel the frost. 
Leave me at peace. 

And why? 
To dream. 

When wilt thou mend? 
When childhood's lost. 
I say no more. 

It were best, I deem. 

What thinkest thou art? 

Why, a worthy man. 

( 71 ) ' 

The Dispute 

Thirty art thou. 

'Tis the age of a mule. 
Art thou a child? 


Tell to me then, is it from Lust thou art 
Still a fool, and knowest thou aught 
Learned in life's school? 
Yea, know I well in milk the flies 
Black on the white before mine eyes. 
No more? 

What more can I say? 
'Twould seem, thou art lost. 

Yet even the lost may rise. 
I say no more. It were best, I deem. 

I have the sorrow and thou the pain. 

If thou wert mad or soft of mind 

Then indeed thou mightst hide thy shame; 

But if to wickedness thou art blind 

Either thy head is a stone, I find, 

Or else from good and from grace 'tis shy. 

What unto this canst thou make reply? 

I will find rest in Death his stream. 
God what a hope! 

How thy tongue doth fly! 
I say no more. 

It were best, I deem. 
( 72 ) 

The Dispute 

Whence came this ill? 

From my distress. 

When Saturn packed my traps for me 
He packed these ills. 

What stupidness! 
Slave art thou to stupidity. 
Remember Solomon, what saith he? 
A wise man power hath o'er the stars 
And on their bent for peace or wars. 
I know that they made me as I seem. 
What sayst thou? 

Nothing, my faith hath bars. 
I say no more. 

It were best, I deem. 
Wouldst thou be living? 

God help me, yes ! 

Then must thou 


Find penitence. Read 

And read what? 

In deep science, and turn from folly 
To truth's white gleam. Wilt thou do this? 

I will find me sense. 
Do so, or worse may come perchance. 
I say no more. 

It were best, I deem. 
( 73 ) 

Le Petit Testament 

LAN quatre cens cinquante et six, 
Je, Francis Villon, escollier, 
Considerant, de sens rassis, 
Le frain aux dents, franc au collier, 
Qu'on doit ses ceuvres conseiller, 
Comme Vegece le racompte, 
Saige Remain, grant conseiller, 
Ou autrement on se mescompte. 


En ce temps que j'ay dit devant, 
Sur le Noel, morte saison, 
Lorsque les loups vivent de vent, 
Et qu'on se tient en sa maison, 
Pour le frimas, pres du tison, 
Me vint le vouloir de briser 
La tres-amoureuse prison 
Qui souloit mon cueur desbriser. 

( 74) 

The Little Testament 

SITTING in a room of the house called 
the Porte Rouge in the cloister of St. 
Benoist, in the year 1456, Fra^ois Villon, 
scholar, clear of sense, bit between teeth 
and free in collar, takes notice that a man 
(to use the words of old Vegetius, the wise 
Roman) must look after his work, else he 
comes to grief. 


He points out that this same year, in the 
dead season before Christmas, when the 
wolves are sniffing the wind and every one 
sits by the chimney-corner, the desire came 
on him to break from the prison in which 
Love held him (through the agency of 
Katherine de Vaucelles, the niece of Pierre 
de Vaucelles, one of the canons of St. 
Benoist) . 

( 75 ) 

Le Petit Testament 


Je le feis en telle fa9on, 

Voyant Celle devant mes yeulx 

Consentant a ma deff a^on, 

Sans que ja luy en fust de mieulx: 

Dont je me deul et plains aux Cieulx, 

En requerant d'elle vengeance 

A tous les dieux venerieux, 

Et du grief d'amours allegence. 


Et se j'ay prins en ma faveur 

Ces doulx regars et beaulx semblans 

De tres-decevante saveur, 

Me trespers9ans jusques aux flancs, 

Bien ilz ont vers moy les piez blancs 

Et me faillent au grant besoing. 

Planter me fault autres complans 

Et frapper en un autre coing. 

Le regard de Celle m'a prins, 
Qui m'a este felonne et dure: 
Sans ce qu'en riens aye mesprins, 
Veult et ordonne que j 'endure 
( 76 ) 

The Little Testament 


More determined is he on this, inasmuch 
as his lady is utterly heartless. He calls 
on the gods whom it concerns to take ven- 
geance on her, calls on Love for help. 


Of all the pleasant past only memories 
remain; therefore now he must plant new 
seed and find some new place. 

To escape from her cruelty, that will kill 
him, he must fly. 

( 77 ) 

Le Petit Testament 

La mort, et que plus je ne dure: 
Si n'y voy secours, que fuir. 
Rompre veult la vive souldure, 
Sans mes piteux regrets ouir! 


Pour obvier a ces danglers, 
Mon mieulx est, je croy, de partir. 
Adieu! Je m'en voys a Angiers, 
Puisqu'elT ne me veult impartir 
Sa grace, il convient despartir. 
Par elle meurs, les membres sains! 
Au fort, je meurs amant martir, 
Du nombre des amoureux saints! 


Combien que le despart me soit 
Dur, si fault-il que je m'esloingne. 
Comme mon povre sens co^oit, 
Autre que moy est en queloingne, 
Qui plus billon et plus or soingne, 
Plus jeune et mieulx garny d'humeur. 
C'est pour moy piteuse besoingne 
Dieu en vueille ouir ma clameur! 
( 78 ) 

The Little Testament 


He will go to Angers. He is dying for 
her sake, though his limbs are whole and 
sound; and will be numbered amid those 
martyred saints of love! 


He sayeth more to the same effect, with 
a prayer to God for pity. 

Le Petit Testament 


Et puisque departir me fault, 
Et du retour ne suis certain: 
Je ne suis homme sans deff ault, 
Ne qu'autre d'assier ne d'estain. 
Vivre aux humains est incertain, 
Et apres mort n'y a relaiz. 
Je m'en voys en pays loingtain 
Si establiz ce present Laiz. 


Premierement, au nom du Pere, 
Du Filz et du Saint-Esperit, 
Et de la glorieuse Mere 
Par qui grace point ne perit, 
Je laisse, de par Dieu, mon bruit 
A maistre Guillaume Villon, 
Qui en 1'honneur de ce nom bruit 
Mes tentes et mon pavilion. 

A Celle doncques que j'ay diet, 
Qui si durement m'a chasse 
Que j'en suis de joye interdict 
Et de tout plaisir deschasse, 
( 80 ) 

The Little Testament 


Since he may never return, he makes this 


In the name of the Trinity and the Virgin 
he leaves to his adoptive father, Master 
Guillaume Villon, his fair name and his ar- 
morial bearings. ("Dans la chevalerie un 
chef de f amille laissait au plus proche heri- 
tier de son nom les tentes et les pavilions qui 
portaient ses armoiries, ses couleurs et ses 

To the woman who has so cruelly used 
him he leaves his dead heart, praying God 
to forgive her! 

Le Petit Testament 

Je laisse mon cueur enchasse, 
Palle, piteux, mort et transy: 
Elle m'a ce mal pourchasse, 
Mais Dieu lui en face mercy! 


Item, a maistre Ythier, marchant, 

Auquel je me sens bien tenu, 

Laisse mon branc d'assier tranchant, 

Et a maistre Jehan le Cornu, 

Qui est en gaige detenu 

Pour ung escot huit solz montant: 

Je vueil, selon le contenu, 

Qu'on leur livre, en le racheptant. 


Item, je laisse a Sainct-Amant 
Le Cheval Blanc, avec la Mulle, 
Et a Blaru mon dyamant 
Et TAsne raye qui reculle. 
Et le Decret qui articulle: 
Omnis utriusque seocus, 
Contre la Carmeliste bulle, 
Laisse aux curez, pour mettre sus, 
( 82 ) 

The Little Testament 


He leaves his crooked sword of steel to 
Master Ythier, merchant, that he may get 
it out of pawn, where it lies pledged for 
eight sols, and give it to Jehan le Cornu. 


He leaves to Saint- Amant (a drunkard) 
the Mule Tavern and the White Horse; to 
Blaru his diamond and the Striped Ass 
(tavern) ; and the Decretal which begins 
Omnis utriusque seacus to the priests. (See 
Grand Testament, v, LXXXVII.) 

Le Petit Testament 


Item, a Jehan Tronne, boucher, 
Laisse le mouton franc et tendre, 
Et ung tachon pour esmoucher 
Le boeuf couronne, qu'on veult vendre, 
Et la vache qu'on ne peult prendre : 
Le vilain qui 1'a, trousse au col, 
S'il ne la rend, qu'on le puist pendre 
Et estrangler d'ung bon licol! 


Et a maistre Robert Vallee, 
Povre clergeron de Parlement, 
Qui ne tient ne mont ne vallee, 
J'ordonne principalement 
Qu'on luy bailie legerement 
Mes brayes, estans aux trumellieres, 
Pour coeiFer plus honestement 
S'amye Jehanneton de Millieres. 


Pource qu'il est de lieu honeste, 
Fault qu'il soit mieulx recompense, 
Car le Saint-Esprit 1'admoneste, 
Non obstant qu'il est insense: 
( 84 ) 

The Little Testament 


To Jehan Tronne, the butcher, he leaves 
his fat sheep and a fly-whisk to whisk the 
flies off his dubious beef and cow-meat. If 
the man who has the sheep in care won't 
give it up, let him be strangled. 


To Master Robert Vallee (clerk of Par- 
liament) he bequeaths his breeches, that the 
said M. R. V. may clothe his mistress, Je- 
hanneton de Millieres, more respectably. 


Also to Master Robert Vallee he be- 
queaths his Art of Memory, to help to bal- 
ance his want of brains. 

Le Petit Testament 

Pour ce, je me suis pourpense, 

Qu'on lui bailie FArt de memoire 

A recouvrer sur Malpense, 

Veu qu'il n'a sens mais qu'une aulmoire. 


Item, pour asseurer la vie 

Du dessusdict maistre Robert . . . 

Pour Dieu! n'y ayez point d'envie! 

Mes parens, vendez mon haubert, 

Et que 1' argent, ou la pluspart, 

Soit employe, dedans ces Pasques, 

Pour achepter a ce poupart 

Une fenestre empres Saint-Jacques. 


Item, laisse et donne en pur don 
Mes gands et ma hucque de soye 
A mon amy Jacques Cardon, 
Le gland aussi d'une saulsoye, 
Et tous les jours une grosse oye 
Et ung chappon de haulte gresse, 
Dix muys de vin blanc comme croye, 
Et deux proces que trop n'engresse. 
( 86 ) 

The Little Testament 


Also he implores his heirs to sell his 
hauberk and buy the same Robert Vallee a 
little shop near Saint Jacques, that he may 
be able to live. 


Item. He leaves his gloves and his silk 
hood to his friend, Jacques Cardon 
("Cardon avait rheumeur galante, etait 
avare et voulait sans doute faire 1'elegant" 
Prompsault) ; also to him every day a fat 
goose, or capon; also a vat of white wine 
and two lawsuits, lest he should grow too 
fat also the acorns that are found on wil- 
lows ! ! ! 

Le Petit Testament 


Item, je laisse a ce noble homme 

Rene de Montigny troys chiens: 

Aussi, a Jehan Raguyer, la somme 

De cent francs, prins sur fous mes biens. 

Mais quoy! Je n'y comprens en riens 

Ce que je pourray acquerir: 

On ne doit trop pendre des siens, 

Ne ses amis trop requerir. 


Item, au seigneur de Grigny 
Laisse la garde de Nygon, 
Et six chiens plus qu'a Montigny, 
Vicestre, chastel et donjon: 
Et a ce malostru Chan j on, 
Mouton qui le tient en proces, 
Laisse troys coups d'ung escourgeon, 
Et coucher, paix et aise, es ceps. 


Et a maistre Jacques Raguyer. 
Je laisse FAbreuvouer Popin, 
Pesches, poires, sucre, figuier, 
Tous jours le choix d'ung bon lopin, 
( 88 ) 

The Little Testament 


Item. He leaves three dogs to Rene de 
Montigny (this same Rene was one of his 
accomplices in ill-doing; he was hanged for 
sacrilege in 1457), and a hundred francs to 
Jehan Raguyer (one of the sergeants of the 
Provostry of Paris). 


Item. To the Seigneur de Grigny (one 
of his companions, a coiner) he leaves the 
castle of Nygon (an old ruined tower where 
thieves used to hide, close to Paris gates, 
and by the river) and six dogs more than 
to Montigny; also the Bicetre and to that 
villain Chan j on three strokes of a scourge 
and imprisonment for life. 


He leaves the Abreuvoir Popin to 
Jacques Raguyer and the run of his teeth 
at the Pomme du Pin. 

( 89 ) 

Le Petit Testament 

Le trou de la Pomme de pin 

Le doz aux rains, au feu la plante, 

Emmaillote en jacopin, 

Et qui vouldra planter, si plante. 


Item, a maistre Jehan Mautainct, 
A maistre Pierre Basannier, 
Le gre du seigneur, qui attainct 
Troubles, forfaits, sans espargnier 
Et a mon procureur Fournier 
Bonnetz courtz, chausses semellees, 
Taillees sur mon cordouennier, 
Pour porter durant ces gellees. 


Item, au Chevalier du guet, 
Le heaulme je luy establis: 
Et aux pietons qui vont d'aguet, 
Tastonnant par ces establis, 
Je leur laisse deux beaulx rubis: 
La Lanterne et la Pierre-au-Let . . . 
Voire-mais, j'auray les Trends licts, 
S'ilz me meinent en Chastellet. 
( 90 ) 

The Little Testament 

Item. To maistre Jehan Mautainct and 
maistre Pierre Basannier "le gre du seig- 
neur," which punishes felonies, and to Four- 
nier (the lieutenant-criminel of the Pro- 
vostry of Paris) leather belonging to Villon 
that lies at the cordwainer's ready to make 
up into caps and shoes. 


Item. To the Captain of the Watch a 
helmet (the heaulme was a closed helmet 
from which one could scarcely see any- 
thing), and to his men, who are always 
searching for thieves, he leaves two ruhies. 
La Lanterne and la Pierre-au-Let. The 
rubies are obscure. "Rubies de taverne 
qu'il avoit au visage ?" (Clement Marot). 

Le Petit Testament 


Item, a Perrenet Marchant, 
Qu'on dit le Bastard de la Barre, 
Pource qu'il est ung bon marchant, 
Luy laisse trois gluyons de fouarre, 
Pour estendre dessus la terre 
A faire Famoureux mestier, 
Ou il luy f auldra sa vie querre, 
Car il n'eschet autre mestier. 


Item, au Loup et a Chollet, 
Je laisse a la foys ung canart, 
Prins sur les murs, comme on squloit, 
Ou vers les fossez, sur le tard; 
Et a chascun un grant tabart 
De cordelier, jusques aux pieds, 
Busclie, charbon et poys au lart, 
Et mes houseaulx sans avantpiedz. 


Item, je laisse, et en pitie, 
A troys petis enf ans tous nudz, 
Nommez en ce present traictie, 
Povres orphelins impourveuz, 
( 92 ) 

The Little Testament 


To the merchant Perrenet, otherwise 
named the Bastard de la Barre, he leaves 
three trusses of straw to make a bed for 
his amorous encounters. (This has some 
obscure reference to Perrenet's coat of 


To Jehan le Loup and Casin Chollet 
(duck- thieves) he bequeaths a duck, caught 
as of old in the moat of Paris ; also a friar's 
robe, wood, charcoal, bacon, peas, and his 
old boots. The robe to hide their plunder. 


This verse might seem to stand alone, like 
an angel at a masquerade, were it not that it 
is now believed to be ironical. He speaks of 
three poor children, naked as worms. He 
wishes them to be provided for, at least till 
the winter is over. 

Le Petit Testament 

Tous deschaussez, tous despourveuz, 
Et desnuez comme le ver: 
J'ordonne qu'ils seront pourveuz, 
Au moins pour passer cest yver. 


Premierement, Colin Laurens, 
Girard Gossoyn et Jehan Marceau, 
Desprins de biens et de parens, 
Et n'ont vaillant Tanse d'ung seau: 
Chascun de mes biens ung f aisseau, 
Ou quatre blancs, si Tayment mieulx. 
Ilz mangeront le bon morceau, 
Ces enfans, quand je seray vieulxl 


Item, ma nomination 
Que j'ay de 1'Universite, 
Laisse, par resignation, 
Pour forclore d'adversite 
Povres clercs de ceste cite, 
Soubz cest intendit contenuz: 
Charite m'y a incite, 
Et Nature, les voyant nudz. 

The Little Testament 


He gives the names of the little children, 
leaving each a share of his goods, or four 
blancs. According to the latest commenta- 
tors, these poor children were, in reality, 
three of the wealthiest money lenders of 


To rescue some poor clerks, he leaves his 
right of nomination at the University, in- 
cited by charity and seeing them quite 
naked. (Ironical.) 

Le Petit Testament 


C'est maistre Guillaume Cotin 
Et maistre Thibault de Vitry, 
Deux povres clercs, parlans latin, 
Paisibles enfans, sans estry, 
Humbles, bien chantans au lectry. 
Je leur laisse cens recevoir 
Sur la maison Guillot Gueuldry, 
En attendant de mieulx avoir. 


Item, et je adjoinctz a la Crosse 
Celle de la rue Sainct-Antoine, 
Et ung billart de quoy on crosse, 
Et tous les jours plain pot de Seine, 
Aux pigons qui sont en 1'essoine, 
Enserrez soubz trappe voliere, 
Et mon mirouer bel et ydoyne, 
Et la grace de la geoliere. 


Item, je laisse aux hospitaux 
Mes chassis tissus d'araignee, 
Et aux gisans soubz les estaux, 
Chascun sur 1'ceil une grongnee, 
( 96 ) 

The Little Testament 


He gives their names, and bequeaths 
them the rent of the Maison Guillot 
Gueuldry (the Pillory). 


Also the house in the rue Saint Antoine 
(the Bastille) the stick with which pris- 
oners were beaten and every day a pot of 
Seine water, also his mirror, and the good 
graces of the jaileress. 


To the hospitals he leaves his curtains, 
made of spiders'-webs. To the vagabonds 
who sleep under the butchers' stalls, each 
a patch on the eye, and power to shiver, 

( 97 ) 

Le Petit Testament 

Trembler a chiere renffrongnee, 
Maigres, velluz et morfonduz 
Chausses courtes, robbe rongnee, 
Gelez, meurdriz et enf onduz. 


Item, je laisse a mon barbier 
Les rongneures de mes cheveulx, 
Plainement et sans descombier; 
Au savetier, mes souliers vieulx, 
Et au f rippier, mes habitz tieulx 
Que, quant ainsi je les delaisse, 
Pour moins qu'ilz ne cousterent neufz, 
Charitablement je leur laisse. 


Item, je laisse aux Mendians, 
Aux Filles-Dieu et aux Beguynes, 
Savoureux morceaulx et frians, 
Chappons, pigons, grasses gelines, 
Et puis prescher les Quinze Signes, 
Et abatre pain a deux mains. 
Carmes chevaulchent nos voisines, 
Mais cela ne m'est que du mains. 
( 98 ) 

The Little Testament 

and whine and beg with success (the eye- 
patch doubtless to be part of the malin- 
gerer's disguise). See Hugo's description 
of the Cour des Miracles. 


To his barber he leaves the clippings 
of his hair, without any deductions; to his 
cobbler all his old boots ; to his tailor his old 


To the Mendicant Orders, the Filles- 
Dieu, and the Beguines he leaves capons 
and fat chickens and limitless bread on the 
understanding that they continue to preach 
the fifteen signs. (Duchat says that the 
Mendicant Orders invented fifteen signs, or 
prodigies, foretelling the last judgment.) 

Le Petit Testament 


Item, laisse le Mortier d'or 
A Jehan, Tespicier de la Garde, 
Et une potence a Sainct-JMor, 
Pour f aire ung broyer a moustarde, 
A celluy qui feit Favant-garde, 
Pour faire sur moy grief z exploitz: 
De par moy, sainct Antoine Farde ! 
Je ne luy feray autre laiz. 


Item, je laisse a Mairebeuf 
Et a Nicolas de Louvieulx, 
A chascun 1'escaille d'un oeuf, 
Plaine de francs et d'escus vieulx. 
Quant au concierge de Gouvieulx, 
Pierre de Ronseville, ordonne, 
Pour donner, en attendant mieulx 
Escus telz que prince les donne. 


Finalement, en estrivant, 
Ce soir, seullet, estant en bonne, 
Dictant ces laiz et descripvant, 
Je ouys la cloche de Sorbonne, 
( 100 ) 

The Little Testament 


Item. He leaves the Mortier d'Or (the 
most famous grocers in Paris had for sign 
a golden mortar; every house in Paris had 
some sign to distinguish it before the art 
of numbering houses was discovered) to 
Jehan the grocer of la Garde. Also the gib- 
bet from Sainct-Mor as a pestle to pound 
his mustard with; see Grand Testament,, 
verses cxxvn and cxxvm. The end of the 
verse is obscure. 


He leaves to Mairebeuf and Nicolas de 
Louvieulx, each one, the shell of an egg 
filled quite full with francs and ecus (a lot 
it would hold). And he gives Pierre de 
Ronseville, Governor of Gouvieulx, all the 
ecus paid by Princes who visit the place to 
share amongst the warders (who doubtless 
were once his jailers). 


Lastly, writing here alone to-night, he 
hears the Angelus ringing from the Sor- 
bonne (nine o'clock) . 

( 101 ) 

Le Petit Testament 

Qui tous jours a neuf heures sonne 
Le Salut que TAnge predit: 
Cy suspendis et cy mys bourne, 
Pour prier, comme le cueur dit. 


Ce faisant, je me entre-oubliay, 
Non pas par force de vin boire, 
L'entendement comme lie; 
Lors je senty dame Memoire 
Rescondre et mectre en son aulmoire, 
Sur especes collaterals, 
Oppinative f aulce et voire 
Et autres intellectualles. 


Et mesmement Textimative, 

Par quoy la perspective vient, 

Similative, formative, 

Desquelles souvent il advient 

Que, par leur trouble, homme devient 

Fol et lunaticque par moys: 

Je Tay leu, et bien m'en souvient, 

En Aristote aucunes fois. 

( 102 ) 

The Little Testament 

He stops writing to offer up a prayer. 


This verse and verses xxxvii, xxxvui, 
and xxxix which follow were published for 
the first time by Prompsault. It is almost 
certain that Villon was not the author of 
verses xxxvn and xxxvui. 



( 103 ) 

Le Petit Testament 


Mais le sensitif s'esveilla 
Et esvertua fantasie, 
Et tous argutis resveilla, 
Car la souveraine partie, 
En suspens, estoit amortie 
Par oppression d'oubliance, 
Qui en moy s'estoit espartie, 
Pour montrer des sens Talliance, 


Puis que mon sens f ut a repos 
Et Tentendement demesle, 
Je cuiday finer mon propos. 
Mais mon encre estoit gele, 
Et mon cierge estoit souflee: 
De feu je n'eusse pu finer. 
C'estoit assez tartevele. 
Pourtant il me convint finer. 

( 104 ) 

The Little Testament 



But his ink is frozen; he has no fire. He 
must stop. 

( 105 ) 

Petit Testament 


Fait au temps de ladicte date, 
Par le bien renomme Villon, 
Qui ne mange figue ne date: 
Sec et noir comme escouvillon, 
II n'a tente ne pavilion, 
Qu'il n'ayt laisse a ses amys, 
Et n'a plus qu'un peu de billon, 
Qui sera tantost a fin mys. 


( 106 ) 

The Little Testament 


Given at the time aforesaid by the well- 
renowned Villon, half-starved, dry and 
black as a flue-brush, without tents or pa- 
vilions which he has left to his friends, with 
nothing but a little base coin, and even that 
will soon come to an end! ! ! 



( 107) 

Le Grand Testament 

EN Tan trentiesme de mon aage, 
Que toutes mes hontes j'ay beues, 
Ne du tout f ol, ne du tout sage, 
Nonobstant maintes peines cues, 
Lesquelles j'ay toutes receues 
Soubz la main Thibault d'Ausigny: 
S'evesque il est, seignant les rues, 
Qu'il soit le mien je le reny! 


Mon seigneur n'est, ne mon evesque; 
Soubz luy ne tiens, si n'est en friche; 
Foy ne luy doy, ne hommage avecque; 
Je ne suis son serf ne sa biche. 
Peu m'a d'une petite miche 
Et de froide eau, tout ung este. 
Large ou estroit, moult me fut chiche. 
Tel luy soit Dieu, qu'il m'a este. 
( 108 ) 

The Great Testament 

HE takes up his pen in the thirtieth year 
of his age, in which he has drunk so 
much shame. He is neither wholly a fool 
nor wise man. And who's hand brought 
him to this shame? Who's but Thibault 
d'Aussigny's, Bishop of Meung (see bal- 
lade on p. 60)? Bishop, forsooth! Thi- 
bault is no Bishop of his. 


Neither Bishop nor Lord. He owes no 
homage to him, nor is he Thibault's serf 
or hind. Thibault has kept him a whole 
summer prisoner in a pit, with no food but 
bread and water. 

May God do likewise to Thibault. 

( 109 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Et, s'aucun me vouloit reprendre 

Et dire que je el mauldys, 

Non fais, si bien le s$ait comprendre, 

Et riens de luy je ne mesdys. 

Voycy tout le mal que j'en dys: 

S'il m'a este misericors, 

Jesus, le roy de paradis, 

Tel luy soit a Fame et au corps! 


S'il m'a este dur et cruel 

Trop plus que je ne le racompte, 

Je vueil que le Dieu eternel 

Luy soit doncq' semblable, a ce compte! 

Mais 1'Eglise nous dit et conte 

Que prions pour nos ennemis. 

Je vous dirai: J'ay tort et honte, 

Quoy qu'il m'ait faict, a Dieu remisi 

Si prieray pour luy de bon cueur, 
Et pour Tame de feu Cotard. 
Mais quoy? ce sera doncq par cueur, 
Car de lire je suis faitard. 

( no ) 

The Great Testament 


He has nothing to say against Thibault, 
only this: if Thibault showed him mercy, 
then may God show mercy to Thibault! 


If, on the contrary, Thibault misused him, 
then may God do likewise to Thibault 
(Amen). The Church teaches one to love 
one's enemies. Very well. He will leave 
the whole matter to God. 

He will also pray for Thibault; and for 
the soul of Master Cotart, admitting that 
he is not much good at prayer. If Villon 

L,e Grand Testament 

Priere en feray de Picard: 

Si ne la s^ait, voise 1'apprandre, 

S'il m'en croyt, ains qu'il soit plus tard, 

A Douay, ou a Flsle en Flandre! 


Combien que s'il veult que Ton prie 

Pour luy, f oy que doy mon baptesme, 

Nonobstant qu'a tous je le crye, 

II ne fauldra pas a son esme. 

Au Psaultier prens, quand suis a mesme, 

Qui n'est de beuf ne cordoen, 

Le verset escript le septiesme 

Du psaulme de Deus laudem. 


Je prie au benoist Filz de Dieu, 
Qu'a tous mes besoings je reclame, 
Que ma bonne priere ayt lieu 
Vers luy, de qui tiens corps et ame, 
Qui m'a preserve de maint blasme 
Et franchy de vile puissance. 
Loue soit-il, et Nostre-Dame, 
Et Loys, le bon roy de France! 

The Great Testament 

prayed it would be in Picard fashion. If 
Thibault wants to know what that fashion 
is let him go to Douai or Lille. 


When he is going to pray for Thibault, 
he will begin his prayer with the seventh 
verse of the Psalm beginning Deus Laudem. 
Which verse is thus conceived: "Que les 
jours de sa vie soient reduits au plus 
petit nombre, et que son eveche passe a un 


He implores God's blessed Son to listen 
to his prayer, and gives praise to our Lady 
and King Louis of France. 

Le Grand Testament 


Auquel doint Dieu Mieur de Jacob, 
De Salomon Fhonneur et gloire: 
Quand de prouesse, il en a trop, 
De force aussi, par m'ame! voire. 
En ce monde-cy transitoire, 
Tant qu'il a de long et de le, 
Afin que de luy soit memoire, 
Vive autant que Mathusale! 


Et douze beaulx enf ans, tous masles, 
Voire de son cher sang royal, 
Aussi preux que fut le grant Charles, 
Conceuz en ventre imperial, 
Bons comme fut sainct Martial: 
Ainsi en preigne au bon Dauphin. 
Je ne luy souhaicte autre mal, 
Et puis paradis a la fin. 

Pource que foible je me sens, 
Trop plus de biens que de sante, 
Tant que je suis en mon plain sens, 
Si peu que Dieu m'en a preste, 

The Great Testament 


Praying God to endow Louis with the 
happiness of Jacob and the glory of Solo- 
mon, and to give his memory as long a life 
as Methuselah's. 


May he have twelve fair sons, brave as 
Charles the Great and good as saint 
Martial. He wishes equal luck to the good 
Dauphin (Joachim of France, son of 
Charlotte de Savoie). The poor Dauphin 
got little from Villon's good wishes : he died 
at about eleven years of age! 

Our poet, feeling himself very weak, 
and more impoverished in purse even than 

L,e Grand Testament 

Car d'autre ne Fay emprunte, 
J'ay ce Testament tres-estable 
Faict, de darraine voulente, 
Seul pour tout et irrevocable. 


Escript Fay, Fan soixante et ung, 

Que le bon Roy me delivra 

De la dure prison de Mehun, 

Et que vie me recouvra: 

Dont suis, tant que mon cueur vivra, 

Tenu vers luy me humilier, 

Ce que feray jusqu'il mourra: 

Bienfaict ne se doit oublier. 

Icy commence Villon a entrer en matiere pleine 
d'erudition et de bon sgavoir. 


Or est vray qu'apres plainctz et pleurs 
Et angoisseux gemissemens, 
Apres tristesses et douleurs, 
Labeurs et grief z cheminemens, 
Trouve mes lubres sentemens, 
Esguisez comme une pelote, 
Mouvoir plus que tous les Commens 
D'Averroys sur Aristote. 

The Great Testament 

in body, uses the clear sense that remains to 
him for the purpose of writing this Testa- 
ment (ires estable and irrevocable). 


Written in the year 1461. The same in 
which the good king set him free from Thi- 
bault's prison at Meung, an act for which 
he will always serve the king until he dies. 
Good deeds should always be remembered. 

Here begins Villon to enter upon matter full of 
erudition and good knowledge. 


Tears and complaints, sadness and suffer- 
ing, have taught him wisdom, and taught 
him more than all the commentaries of 
Averroes can teach one of Aristotle. 
Averroes was an Arab doctor, whose com- 
mentary on Aristotle Villon mocks at. 

( 117 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Combien qu'au plus fort de mes maulx, 
En cheminant sans croix ne pile, 
Dieu, qui les Pellerins d'Esmaus 
Conforta, ce dit FEvangile, 
Me monstra une belle ville 
Et pourveut du don d'esperance : 
Combien que le pecheur soit vile, 
Riens ne hayt que perseverance. 


Je suis pecheur, je le say bien: 
Pourtant Dieu ne veult pas ma mort, 
Mais convertisse et vive en bien, 
Mieulx tout autre que peche mord. 
Combien qu'en peche soye mort, 
Dieu voult, et sa misericorde, 
Se conscience me remord, 
Par sa grace, pardon m'accorde. 


Et, comme le noble Romant 
De la Rose dit et conf esse 
En son premier commencement, 
Qu'on doit jeune cueur en jeunesse, 

The Great Testament 


For to Villon, wandering in the wilder- 
ness, God gave comfort and a resting-place. 
For God does not hate a man for being 
vile; God only hates a man for being 


He is a sinner. He knows that well; but 
he knows that God does not wait his death, 
but his repentance. 


And, as the noble Romance of the Rose 
says in its first part, "much may be for- 
given to youth." Yet, those wicked ones 

Le Grand Testament 

Quant on le voit meur en vieillesse, 
Excuser, helas! il dit voir. 
Ceulx done qui me font telle oppresse 
En meurete me vouldroient veoir. 


Se, pour ma mort, le bien publique 
D'aucune chose vaulsist mieulx, 
A mourir comme ung homme inique 
Je me jugeasse, ainsi m'aid' Dieux! 
Grief ne faiz a jeune ne vieulx, 
Soye sur pied ou soye en biere: 
Les montz ne bougent de leurs lieux, 
Pour ung povre, n'avant, n'arriere. 


Au temps que Alexandre regna, 
Ung horns, nomme Diomedes 
Devant luy on luy amena, 
Engrillonne poulces et detz, 
Comme ung larron; car il fut des 
Escumeux que voyons courir, 
Et fut mys devant le cades, 
Pour estre juge a mourir. 
( 120 ) 

The Great Testament 

who oppressed him would have killed him 
in his youth (before age had redeemed his 
soul by sense). 


Villon would have killed himself if, by 
doing so, he could have bettered things 
for others; but he cannot see that his 
life does others any harm. The hills will 
not be stirred by the death of one poor 


In the time of Alexander a pirate called 
Diomedes was brought before the emperor 
in chains to receive his punishment. 

( 121 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


L'empereur si Farraisonna: 
"Pourquoy es-tu larron de mer?" 
L'autre responce luy donna: 
"Pourquoy larron me faiz nommer?' 
Pource qu'on me voit escumer 
Dedans une petite fuste? 
Se comme toy me peiisse armer, 
Comme toy empereur je fusse. 


"Mais que veux-tu de ma fortune, 
Centre qui ne pays bonnement, 
Qui si f aulsement m'infortune, 
Que c'est grant esbahissement. 
Saches que veritablement 
Souvent en bien grant povrete 
(Ce mot dit-on communement) 
Ne gist pas grande loyaulte." 


Quand Fempereur cut remire 

De Diomedes tout le diet: 

"Ta fortune je mueray 

De mauvaise en bonne"! luy dit. 

( 122 ) 

The Great Testament 


The emperor asked him, "Why are you 
a pirate?" The other replied, "Why do 
you call me a pirate? If I could change 
my poor vessel for your throne, I would be 
an emperor, like you. 


"Fate alone makes me what I am. For- 
give me, for poverty make man do un- 
righteous things." 

Whereat the emperor unto Diomedes 
said, "I will turn your bad luck into good." 
This he did, with the result that Diomedes 

( 123 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Si fist-il. One puis ne mesdit 
A personne, mais fut vray homme. 
Valere pour vray le bandit, 
Qui fut nomine le Grant a Romme. 


Se Dieu m'eust donne rencontrer 
Ung autre piteux Alexandra, 
Qui m'eust f aict en bon heur entrer, 
Et lors qui m'eust veu condescendre 
A mal, estre ars et mys en cendre 
Juge me fusse de ma voix. 
Necessite f aict gens mesprendre, 
Et f aim saillir les loups des boys 


Je plains le temps de ma jeunesse, 
Ouquel j'ay plus qu'autre galle, 
Jusque a Fentree de vieillesse, 
Qui son partement m'a cele: 
II ne s'en est a pied alle, 
N'a cheval, helas! Comment done? 
Soudainement s'en est voile, 
Et ne m'a laisse quelque don. 
( 124 ) 

The Great Testament 

led ever after a good life. Which story is 
to be found in Valerius, who in Rome was 
called "The Great." 


If God had given Villon a compassion- 
ate Alexander, Villon admits that death by 
burning would have been his fitting portion 
had he gone back to evil courses. But neces- 
sity makes men vicious; and drives them 
forth to rapine, as hunger drives wolves 
from the wood. 


He mourns over his lost youth, which fled ; 
away suddenly from him, and never will re- 
turn again. 

( 125 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Alle s'en est, et je demeure, 
Povre de sens et de S9avoir, 
Triste, f ailly, plus noir que meure, 
Qui n'ay cens, rente, ne avoir: 
Des miens le moindre, je dy voir, 
De me desadvouer s'avance, 
Oubliant naturel devoir, 
Par f aulte d'ung peu de chevance. 


Si ne crains avoir despendu, 
Par friander et par leschier: 
Par trop aymer n'ay riens vendu, 
Que nuls me peussent reprouchier, 
Au moins qui leur couste trop cher. 
Je le dys, et ne croy mesdire. 
De ce je me puis revencher: 
Qui n'a meffait ne le doit dire. 


II est bien vray que j'ay ayme 
Et aymeroye voulentiers: 
Mais triste cueur, ventre affame 
Qui n'est rassasie au tiers, 

( 126 ) 

The Great Testament 


It is gone, and he remains, poor and 
broken, without coin or land, and deserted 
by those who were once his relations. 


And, after all, what has he done? He 
has never been a glutton or bad liver, or 
done harm in love. If any one says so he 
lies, and will some day repent of his lie. 
No the man who has done no wrong should 
not confess. 


It is true he has loved, and would do so 
again; but he has always been too hungry 

( 127 ) 

L,e Grand Testament 

Me oste des amoureux sentiers. 
Au fort, quelqu'un s'en recompense, 
Qui est remply sur les chantiers, 
Car la danse vient de la panse. 


Ho Dieu! se j'eusse estudie, 
Au temps de ma jeunesse folle, 
Et a bonnes meurs dedie, 
J'eusse maison et couche molle! 
Mais quoy? je fuyoye 1'Escolle, 
Comme f aict le mauvays enfant. . . 
En escrivant ceste parolle, 
A peu que le cueur ne me fend. 


Le diet du Saige trop le f eis 
Favorable, bien n'en puys mais, 
Qui dit: "Es joys-toy, mon filz, 
A ton adolescence, mais 
Ailleurs sers bien d'ung autre mets, 
Car jeunesse et adolescence 
(C'est son parler, ne moins ne mais) 
Ne sont qu'abus et ignorance." 
( 128 ) 

Great Testament 

and sad to have the full joy of love. Love 
and a full belly only agree. 


If he had only studied and worked hard 
in his youth he would not now be cold in 
his age. But what did he do? He escaped 
from school, like the bad child he was, and 
writing this fact down gives him great bit- 
terness of heart. 


He has learned the lesson of the sage: 
"Rejoice in your youth, my son; but con- 
sider thy ways, for youth holds error and 

( 129 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Mes jours s'en sont allez errant, 
Comme, dit Job, d'une touaille 
Sont les filetz, quant tisserant 
Tient en son poing ardente paille: 
Lors, s'il y a nul bout saille, 
Soudainement il le ravit. 
Si ne crains plus que rien m'assaille, 
Car a la mort tout s'assouvit. 


Ou sont les gratieux gallans 
Que je suyvoye au tempts jadis, 
Si bien chantans, si bien parlans, 
Si plaisans en faictz et en dictz! 
Les aucuns sont mortz et roydiz; 
Rien n'est-il plus d'eulx maintenant. 
Repos ilz ayent en paradis, 
Et Dieu saulve le remenant! 


Et les aucuns sont devenuz, 
Dieu mercy ! grans seigneurs et maistres ; 
Les autres mendient tous nudz, 
Et pain ne voyent qu'aux fenestres; 
( 130 ) 

The Great Testament 


His days have been like those tags of 
the cloth of which Job speaks, and to which 
the weaver lays a torch so as to burn them 
off. No matter. Death will free him 
at last. 


Where are the gallants with whom he 
consorted of old, so fine in song and speech, 
so pleasant in acts and words? Some are 
dead, they rest in Paradise and may God 
have the remainder in His keeping. 


Some "Dieu mercy !" have become 
great lords and masters. Some beg naked, 
and never see bread, unless in the windows 
of the bakers' shops. Others are in the 

( 131 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Les autres sont entrez en cloistres 
De Celestins et de Chartreux, 
Bottez, housez, comm' pescheurs d'oystres 
Voila l'estat divers d'entre eulx. 


Aux grans maistres Dieu doint bien f aire, 
Vivans en paix et en requoy: 
En eulx il n'y a que refaire: 
Si s'en fait bon taire tout quoy. 
Mais aux povres qui n'ont de quoy, 
Comme moy, Dieu doint patience: 
Aux autres ne fault qui ne quoy. 
Car assez ont pain et pitance. 


Bons vins ont, souvent embrochez, 
Saulces, brouetz et gros poissons, 
Tartes, flans, ceufz fritz et pochez, 
Et perdus, en toutes fa^ons. 
Pas ne ressemblent les masons. 
Que servir fault a si grant peine: 
Hz ne veulent nulz eschan9ons, 
Car de verser chascun se peine. 

( 132 ) 

The Great Testament 

cloisters of the Celestines and the Char- 
treux, well booted and hosed (as oyster- 
catchers). Behold the difference between 
all these! 


God does well by great nobles. But to 
the poor like Villon may he give pa- 
tience! They need it more than the others 
who have plenty. 


More than they who drink good wine, 
and have sauces and fat fish, tarts, roast 
meat, and eggs, fried, poached, and perdus. 
(The receipt for ceufg perdus is found in 
an old receipt-book of the fifteenth century 
which bears the name of Taillevent, Maitre- 
queux du Roi.) People like these need 
no butler. They pour out their own 

( 133 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


En cest incident me suis mys, 
Qui de rien ne sert a mon f aict. 
Je ne suis juge, ne commis, 
Pour punir, n'absouldre meffaict: 
De tous suis le plus imparfaict. 
Loue soit le doulx Jesus-Christ! 
Que par moy luy soit satisfaict! 
Ce que j'ay escript est escript. 


Laissons le monstier ou il est: 
Parlons de chose plus plaisante. 
Ceste matiere a tous ne plaist: 
Ennuyeuse est et desplaisante. 
Povrete, chagrine et dolente, 
Tous jours despiteuse et rebelle, 
Dit quelque parolle cuysante: 
S'elle n'ose, si la pense-elle. 


Povre je suis, des ma jeunesse, 
De povre et de petite extrace. 
Mon pere n'euct oncq grant richesse, 
Ne son ayeul, nomme Erace. 
( 134 ) 

The Great Testament 


But this is all by the way. He is not a 
judge, commissioned to punish or absolve. 
He is the most imperfect of all. Let 
praise be given to Christ, and may all their 
needs through Him be satisfied. What he 
has written he has written. 


Let us turn to more pleasant subjects. 
Poverty is always saying bad things or 
thinking them. 


He was poor from his very youth, of 
small and poor extraction. His father 
had nothing, nor his ancestor Erace (saint 
Hierax, who was martyred with saint 

( 135 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Povrete tous nous suyt et trace. 
Sur les tumbeaulx de nos ancestres, 
Les ames desquelz Dieu embrasse, 
On n'y voyt couronnes ne sceptres. 


En povrete me guermentant, 

Souventesfoys me dit le cueur: 

"Homme, ne te doulouse tant 

Et ne demaine tel douleur, 

Se tu n'as tant qu'eust Jacques Cueur. 

Mieulx vault vivre, soubz gros bureaux, 

Povre, qu'avoir este seigneur 

Et pourrir soubz riches tumbeaux"! 


Qu'avoir este seigneur! . . . Que dys? 
Seigneur! Helas! ne Fest-il mais! 
Selon les Davidiques dictz, 
Son lieu ne congnoistra jamais. 
Quant du surplus, je m'en desmetz, 
II n'appartient a moy, pecheur: 
Aux theologiens le remetz, 
Car c'est office de prescheur. 
( 136 ) 

The Great Testament 

Justin?) Poverty has always followed 
them, and on the tombs of his ancestors 
whom God rest there are no crowns and 


Yet when he complains of poverty his 
heart often has said to him, "If you are 
not as rich as Jacques Cueur" (the riches 
of Jacques Coeur, ar gentler to Charles VII, 
were proverbial) , "remember, it is better to 
be alive and poor than a dead lord rotting 
in a tomb." 


A lord! He is no longer a lord once 
dead. As the psalms of David say, "His 
place knows him no more." As for the rest 
that belongs to the theologians. 

( 137 ) 

L,e Grand Testament 


Si ne suis, bien le considere, 
Filz d'ange, portant dyademe 
D'estoille ne d'autre sydere. 
Mon pere est mort, Dieu en ayt Fame! 
Quant est du corps, il gyst soubz lame. 
J'entends que ma mere mourra, 
Et le sait bien, la povre femme! 
Et le filz pas ne demourra. 


Je congnoys que, povres et riches, 
Sages et folz, prebstres et laiz, 
Nobles, vilains, larges et chiches, 
Petits et grans, et beaulx et laidz. 
Dames a rebrassez colletz, 
De quelconque condicion, 
Portant attours et bourreletz, 
Mort saisit, sans exception. 


Et meure Paris ou Helaine! 
Quiconques meurt, meurt a douleur. 
Celluy qui perd vent et alaine, 
Son fiel se creve sur son cueur, 

( 138 ) 

The Great Testament 


He admits he is not the son of an angel! 
His father is dead God rest his soul! his 
body is buried. He knows that his 
mother soon must die, and, after her, her 



He knows that rich and poor, wise men 
and fools, clergy and laymen, nobles and 
villeins, small and great, and beautiful and 
ugly, all must go. Death seizes them with- 
out exception. 


And be it Helen or Paris dying, whoever 
dies, he dies in pain (see Swinburne's trans- 
lation). His gall bursts upon his heart; 

( 139 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Puis sue, Dieu sait quelle sueur! 
Et n'est qui de ses maulx Tallege: 
Car enf ans n'a, f rere ne soenr, 
Qui voulsist lors estre son pleige. 


La mort le faict fremir, pallir, 
Le nez courber, les veines tendre, 
Le col enfler, la chair mollir, 
Joinctes et nerf s croistre et estrendre. 
Corps feminin, qui tant est tendre, 
Poly, souef, si precieulx, 
Te faudra-il ces maulx attendre? 
Ouy, ou tout vif aller es cieulx. 


Puisque papes, roys, fils de roys, 
Et conceuz en ventres de roynes, 
Sont enseveliz, mortz et froidz, 
En aultres mains passent leurs regnes, 
( 140 ) 

The Great Testament 

then God only knows how he sweats, and 
none may pay the penalty for him or take 
his place. 


Death makes him shiver and pale, 
sharpens his nose, twists his veins even the 
bodies of women, so tender and precious, 
must bear these pangs or else go straight 
alive to heaven. 

Here follow the three great ballades on the muta- 
bility of things, "The Ballade Des Dames du Temps 
Jadis/' and the "Ballades of the Seigneurs du Temps 
Jadis." See pp. 20, 25. 


Since all these popes, kings, sons of 
kings, are dead, shall he not die? Yes, if 
God wills; he has no fear of honest death. 

Le Grand Testament 

Moy, pauvre mercerot de Rennes, 
Mourray-je pas? Ouy, se Dieu plaist; 
Mais que j'aye faict mes estrennes, 
Honneste morte ne me desplaist. 


Ce monde n'est perpetuel, 
Quoy que pense riche pillart. 
Tous sommes soubz mortel coutel. 
Ce conseil prend povre viellart, 
Lequel d'estre plaisant raillart 
Eut le bruyt, lorsque jeune estoit, 
Qu'on tiendroit a fol et paillart 
Se maintenant s'entremettoit. 


Or luy convient-il mendier, 
Car a ce force le contraint. 
Regrette buy sa mort, et bier, 
Tristesse son cueur si estrainct: 
Souvent, se n'estoit Dieu qu'il crainct, 
II feroit un horrible faict. 
Et advient qu'en ce Dieu enfrainct, 
Et que luy-mesmes se deff aict. 
( 142 ) 

The Great Testament 


The world does not last for ever. Let 
the rich robber think what he likes. Old 
men, who have had their day, take this to 
heart; men who in their day have been gal- 
lants and men of pleasure, but who must 
drop all that in age, or be ridiculed. 


Though perhaps they have to beg their 
bread, wishing each day was their last. 
Truly sorrow so works on their hearts that, 
but for God's intervention, they might 
commit some horrid crime. Sometimes, 
forgetting God, they kill themselves. 

Le Grand Testament 


Car, s'en jeunesse il fut plaisant, 
Ores plus rien ne dit qui plaise. 
Tous jours viel synge est desplaisant. 
Moue ne f aict qui ne desplaise 
S'il se faist, affin qu'il complaise 
II est tenu pour fol recreu; 
S'il parle, on luy dit qu'il se taise, 
Et qu'en son prunier n'a pas creu. 


Aussi, ces povres femmelettes, 
Qui vielles sont et n'ont de quoy, 
Quand voyent jeunes pucellettes 
Estre en aise et en requoy, 
Lors demandent a Dieu pourquoy 
Si tost nasquirent, n'a quel droit. 
Nostre Seigneur s'en taist tout coy, 
Car, au tancer, il le perdroit. 

The Great Testament 


The gay young man is no use when old. 
An old ape always displeases. Rabelais 
uses the expression (Pantagruel> book iii.) : 
"Oncques vieil singe ne fist belle moue." 
They cannot make a grimace without dis- 
pleasing. If they are silent they are reck- 
oned fools, if they speak they are told to 
shut up. 


It is just the same with poor women 
grown old, who see young girls carrying 
the day. 

Here follows the "Regrets of La Belle Heaul- 
miere" and the ballade. 

( 145 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Ceste lecon icy leur bailie 
La belle et bonne de jadis. 
Bien dit ou mal, vaille que vaille, 
Enregistrer j'ay faict ces ditz 
Par mon clerc Fremin 1'estourdys, 
Aussi rassis que je puys estre. . . 
S'ils me desment, je le mauldys: 
Selon le clerc est deu le maistre. 


Si aperc^oy le grand dangier 
Ouquel I'homme amoureux se boute. . 
He! qui me vouldroit laidangier 
De ce mot, en disant: "Escoute! 
Se d'aymer t'estrange et deboute 
Le barat d'icelles nominees, 
Tu f eras une folle doubte, 
Car ce sont femmes diff amees. 


"Si n'ayment, fors que pour Tar gent 
On ne les ayme que pour 1'heure. 
Rondement ayment toute gent, 
Et rient lorsque bourse pleure. 
( 146 ) 

The Great Testament 


This lesson (of the preceding ballade) 
she gives to the beautiful of other days. 
Good or ill, I have had it written down by 
my clerk, Fremin. If he has made me 
lie I curse him, for people will accuse me 
of his faults ("Selon le clerc est deu le 


He fears to be misinterpreted. Some 
people may blame him, and say he has been 
speaking of women of pleasure, not honest 


And also say that honest men only have 
dealings with women of honour. 

Le Grand Testament 

De celles-ci n'est qui ne queure. 
Mais en femmes d'honneur et nom, 
Franc homme, se Dieu me sequeure, 
Se doit employer; ailleurs, non." 

Je prens qu'aucun dye cecy, 
Si ne me conteste-il en rien. 
En effect, je concludz ainsy, 
Et je le cuyde entendre bien: 
Qu'on doit aymer en lieu de bien. 
As9avoir-mon se ces fillettes, 
Qu'en parolles longuement tien, 
furent pas femmes honnestes? 


Honnestes, si furent vrayement, 
Sans avoir reproches ne blasmes. 
S'il est vray qu'au commencement 
Uhe chascune de ces femmes 
Lors prindrent, ains qu'eussent diff ames, 
Une ung lay, ung clerc,Fautre ung moine, 
Pour estaindre d'amours les flammes, 
Plus chauldes que feu Sainct Antoine. 
( 148 ) 

The Great Testament 

He agrees with this. He agrees that one 
should love good women; but, he wants to 
ask, were not those whom the world decries 
once good women? 


Certainly, till each of them took some 
man (lay or cleric) to assuage the flame of 
desire, more burning than the fire of St. 
Anthony (erysipelas). 

( 149 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Or feirent, selon ce decret, 
Leurs amys, et bien y appart: 
Elles aymoient en lieu secret, 
Ne nul autre n'y avoit part. 
Nonobstant, ceste amour s'espart: 
Car celle qui n'en avoit qu'un 
D'icelluy s'estrange et despart, 
Et ayme mieulx aymer chascun. 


Qui les meut a ce? J 'imagine, 

Sans Thonneur des dames blasmer, 

Que c'est nature feminine, 

Qui tout homme vouldroit aymer. 

Autre chose n'y s^ay rymer, 

Fors qu'on dit, a Reims et a Troys, 

Voire a 1'Isle et a Sainct-Omer, 

Que six ouvriers font plus que troys. 


Or ont les f olz amans le bond, 
Et les dames prins la vollee. 
C'est le droit loyer qu'amours ont: 
Toute foy y est violee. 

( 150 ) 

The Great Testament 


And each one clung to her first love till 
she was attracted by some other man. 


Why are women made like this? Just 
because they are made like women, and 
women are made to love all men. Besides, 
six workmen do more work than three. 


Every one complains that love takes 
little heed of fidelity. It is just the same 

Le Grand Testament 

Quelque doulx baiser n'a collee 

De chiens, d'oyseaulx, d'armes, d'amours. 

Chascun le dit a la vollee: 

"Pour une joie cent doulours." 


Se celle que jadis servoye 
De si bon cueur et loyaument. 
Dont tant de maulx et grief z j'avoye 
Et souffroye tant de torment, 
Se dit m'eust, au commencement, 
Sa voulente (mais nenny, las!), 
J'eusse mys peine aucunement 
De moy retraire de ses laz. 


Quoy que je luy voulsisse dire, 
Elle estoit preste d'escouter, 
Sans m'accorder ne contredire: 
Qui plus me souff roit acouter, 
Joignant des pies m'arieter, 
Et ainsi m'alloit amusant, 
Et me souiFroit tout racompter, 
Mais si n'estoit qu'en m'abusant. 
( 152 ) 

The Great Testament 

with hunting, love, and war. For one 
pleasure a hundred pains. 

Here follows the ballade on this subject. See p. 32. 


If she whom he served of old time 
(Katherine de Vaucelles) and for whom 
he suffered so much, had only shown her 
hand, he might have escaped from her. 


But what did she do? She listened 
whilst he told her of his love, she kept him 
at her feet, she amused herself with him, 
thus leading him on to his destruction. 

( 153 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Abuser se f aict a entendre 

Tous jours (Tung que ce fust ung aultre: 

De farine, que ce fust cendre; 

D'ung mortier, ung chapeau de feautre; 

De viel machefer, que fust peaultre; 

D'ambesas, que ce fussent ternes. . . 

Tous jours trompeur aultruy engaultre 

Et rend vessies pour lanternes. 


Du ciel, une poisle d'arain; 
Des nues, une peau de veau; 
Du matin, que c'estoit serain; 
D'un trongnon de chou, ung naveau; 
D'orde cervoise, vin nouveau; 
D'une truie, ung molin a vent; 
Et d'une hart, ung escheveau; 
D'un gras abbe ung poursuyvant. 


Ainsi m'ont amours abuse, 
Et pourmene de 1'huys au pesle. 
Je croy qu'homme n'est si ruse, 
Fust fin comme argent de coupelle, 
( 154 ) 

The Great Testament 


She blinded him so completely that he 
believed flour to be cinder and a felt hat 
a mortar; slag, corn; and the double ace, 
the trey. 


Yes, she fooled him till the sky seemed 
made of brass and the clouds a calf -skin; 
morning, evening; a cabbage, a turnip; 
cervoise (a sort of beer), new wine; a sow, 
a windmill; a rope of osier, a bridle; and a 
fat abbe, a poursuivant. 


Love did this; yet where is the man not 
willing to be deceived by love, as he has 

( 155 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Qui n'y laissast linge et drapelle, 
Mais qu'il fust ainsi manye 
Comme moy, qui partout m'appelle 
L'Amant remys et renye. 


Je renye amours et despite, 

Et deffie a feu et a sang. 

Mort par elles me precipite, 

Et ne leur en chault pas d'ung blanc. 

Ma vielle ay mys soubz le bane. 

Si amans ne suyvray jamais: 

Se jadis je fuz de leur ranc. 

Je declaire que n'en suis mais. 


Car j'ay mys le plumail au vent: 
Or le suyve qui a attente. 
De ce me tays dorenavant. 
Poursuyvre je vueil mon entente, 
Et, s'aucun m'interroge ou tente 
Comment d'amours j'ose mesdire, 
Ceste parolle les contente: 
"Qui meurt a ses hoirs doit tout dire. : 

( 156 ) 

The Great Testament 

been he who is called "L'Amant remys 
et renye"? 


But he has done with love now. He 
scorns it: "Ma vielle ay mys soubz le bane." 
If of old time he belonged to the army of 
lovers he belongs to it now not at all. 


He has entered into the lists against love, 
and, if any one takes him to task for speak- 
ing like this, remember that a dying man has 
right to free speech. 

( 157 y 

Le Grand Testament 


Je congnoys approcher ma soef : 
Je crache blanc comme cotton, 
Jacobins gros comme ung esteuf . 
Qu'est-ce a dire? Que Jehanneton 
Plus ne me tient pour valeton, 
Mais pour ung viel use regnart. . . 
De viel porte voix et le ton, 
Et ne suis qu'ung jeune coquart. 


Dieu mercy et Jaques Thibault, 
Qui tant d'eau froide m'a faict boyre, 
En ung bas lieu, non pas en hault; 
Manger d'angoisse mainte poire, 
Enferre. . . . Quand j'en ay memoire, 
Je pry pour luy, et reliqua, 
Que Dieu luy doint. . . et voire, voire, 
Ce que je pense. . . et cetera. 


Toutesfoys, je n'y pense mal, 
Pour luy et pour son lieutenant; 
Aussy pour son official, 
Qui est plaisant et advenant, 
( 158 ) 

The Great Testament 


He feels the thirst of death already. He 
spits white, he is no use to Jehanneton, he 
is old, worn-out and useless, yet is he or 
ought to be a young cock. 


He is like this thanks to God and Jacques 
Thibault (the double-damned Thibault 
d'Aussigny), who made him drink cold 
water (put him to the question), and eat 
pears of anguish (gags). When he thinks 
of this he prays God to give Thibault his 


Yet, after all, he wishes no harm to 
Thibault nor to his lieutenant. He loves 
( 159 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Que faire n'ay du remenant, 
Mais du petit maistre Robart? . . 
Je les ayme, tout d'ung tenant, 
Ainsi que f aict Dieu le Lombart. 


II me souvient bien, Dieu mercis! 
Que je feis, a mon partement, 
Certains Lays, Tan cinquant six, 
Qu'aucuns, sans mon consentement, 
Voulurent nommer Testament. 
Leur vouloir fut, mais non le mien. 
Mais quoy! on dit communement 
Qu'ung chascun n'est maistre du sien, 


Et s'ainsi est qu'aucun n'eust pas 
Receu les lays que le luy mande, 
JPordonne que apres mon trespas 
A mes hoirs en face demande: 
Qui sont-ilz? Si on le demande: 
Moreau, Provins, Robin Turgis; 
De moy, par dictez que leur mande, 
Ont eu jusqu'au lict ou je gys. 
( 160 ) 

The Great Testament 

the whole lot as God loves Lombards 
(bankers and Jews of a certain class went 
under this name). 


He remembers well "Dieu Mercis!" 
that before he went off in the year 1456 he 
left certain "Lays," which some people, 
without his consent, called his Testament. 
It was their will not his. But what will you 
have ! Is it not commonly said that no one 
is master of his own? 


If by chance any of the people men- 
tioned in The Little Testament have not 
been paid he orders that, after his death, de- 
mand be made of his heirs. Who are they? 
Moreau, Provins, Robin Turgis. He has 
willed them his goods, even to the bed on 
which he lies. 

Le Grand Testament 


Pour le revoquer ne le dy, 
Et y courust toute ma terre. 
De pitie je suys refroidy 
Envers le bastard de la Barre. 
Parmy ses trois gluyons de foerre. 
Je luy donne mes vieilles nattes; 
Bonnes seront pour tenir serre 
Et soy soustenir sur ses pattes. 


Somme, plus ne diray qu'ung mot, 
Car commencer vueil a tester: 
Devant mon clerc Fremin, qui m'ot 
(S'il ne dort), je vueil protester 
Que n'entends homme detester, 
En ceste presente ordonnance, 
Et ne le vueil manifester, 
Sinon au royaulme de France. 


Je sens mon cueur qui s'affoiblist, 
Et plus je ne puys papier. 
Fremin, siez-toy pres de mon lict, 
Que Ton ne me viengne espier! 

( 162 ) 

The Great Testament 


He leaves to the Bastard de la Barre, be- 
side the straw devised to him in The Petit 
Testament, his old mats to sustain him on 
his feet. 


Before beginning to test he wishes to say, 
before his clerk Fremin (if the latter be not 
asleep), that he (Villon) has never wronged 
any man in this present ordinance nor will 
he make it manifest unless unto the realm of 


He feels his hqart growing weak, and 
orders Fremin, his clerk, to sit close to his 

( 163 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Prens tost encre, plume et papier. 
Ce que nomme escryz vistement; 
Puis fais-le partout copier, 
Et vecy le commencement. 

Icy commence Villon a tester 

Au nom de Dieu, Pere eternel, 

Et du Filz que Vierge parit, 

Dieu au Pere coeternel, 

Ensemble et le Sainct Esperit, 

Qui saulva ce qu'Adam perit, 

Et du pery pare les cieulx. . . 

Qui bien ce croyt, peu ne merit 

Gens mortz estre faictz petiz Dieux. 


Premier, je donne ma povre ame 
A la benoiste Trinite, 
Et la commande a Nostre Dame, 
Chambre de la divinite: 
Priant toute la charite 
Des dignes neuf Ordres des cieulx 
Que par eulx soit ce don porte 
Devant le trosne precieulx. 
( 164 ) 

The Great Testament 

bed, take paper, pen, and ink, and write 
what he says, and then have it copied. 

Here begins Dillon to make his Will. 


In the name of God the Father, God the 
Son, and God the Holy Ghost, etc. 

Here folio weth four wordy verses (see 
Appendix) ending with the line "Je me 
tays et ainsi commence" (I will cut cack- 
ling and come to the subject) . 

Here follow verses Ixxi to Ixx'vo. See Appendix. 


First, he commends his poor soul to the 
Trinity and our Lady, praying all the 
charity of the nine Orders of the sky that 
his soul may be carried by them to the 
precious throne. 

( 165 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, mon corps j'ordonne et laisse 
A nostre grand mere la terre. 
Les vers n'y trouveront grant gresse: 
Trop luy a f aict f aim dure guerre. 
Or luy soit delivre grant erre: 
De terre vint, en terre tourne. 
Toute chose, se par trop n'erre, 
Voulentiers en son lieu retourne. 


Item, et a mon plus que pere 
Maistre Guillaume de Villon, 
Qui m'a este plus doulx que mere, 
A enfant leve de maillon, 
Dejette hors de maint boillon 
(Et de cestuy pas ne s'esjoye, 
Si luy requiers, a genoillon, 
Qu'il m'en laisse toute la joye), 


Je luy laisse ma librairie, 
Et le Rommant du Pet au Triable, 
Lequel maistre Guy Tabarie 
Grossoya, qu'est horn veritable. 
( 166 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. He leaves his body, worn by 
hunger, to grandmother Earth. It is so 
thin that the worms won't get much good 
from it. It came from earth, let it return 
to earth. All things, unless he errs, are glad 
to return from where they came. 


Item. To Master Guillaume Villon, his 
more than father, who has saved him from 
many a danger and whom he now implores 
not to search for him, 


He leaves his library, and the Rommant 
du Pet au Diable, written out by that 

( 167 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Par cayers est soubz une table. 
Combien qu'il soit rudement f aict, 
La matiere est si tres-notable 
Qu'elle amende tout le meffaict. 


Item, donne a ma bonne mere, 
Pour saluer nostre Maistresse, 
Qui pour moy eut douleur amere, 
Dieu le scait, et mainte tristesse. . . 
( Autre chastel ou forteresse 
N'ay ou retraire corps et ame, 
Quand sur moy court male destresse, 
Ne ma mere, la povre femme) ! 


Item, m'amour, ma chere Rose: 
Ne luy laisse ne cueur ne foye. 
Elle aymeroit mieulx autre chose, 
Combien qu'elle ait assez mannoye. 
Quoy? Une grant bourse de soye, 
Pleine d'escuz, profonde et large. 
Mais pendu soit-il, qui ce soye, 
Qui luy lairra escu ne targe. 
( 168 ) 

The Great Testament 

worthy man Guy Tabarie. It lies some- 
where in loose sheets under some table. 
Though rudely written, the matter is good. 


Item. To his mother, who has suffered 
much through him, he gives the following 
ballade to help her in the worship of our 
Lady, than whom neither he nor his mother 
can see any other refuge in affliction. 

Here follows the Ballade to his Mother. See p. 35. 


Item. To his dear Rose he leaves neither 
his heart nor his liver. "Elle aymeroit 
mieulx autre chose"; she has enough money 
already a great purse stuffed with ecus. 
May he be hanged who leaves her anything 
in the shape of money, ecu or targe (half an 

( 169 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Car elle en a, sans moy, assez, 
Mais de cela il ne m'en chault: 
Mes grans deduictz en sont passez, 
Plus n'en ay le cropion chauld. 
Si m'en desmetz auy hoirs Michault, 
Qui f ut nomine le bon f outerre. 
Priez pour luy, f aides ung sault: 
A Saint-Satur gist, soubz Sancerre. 


Ce non obstant, pour m'acquitter 
Envers amours, plus qu'envers elle, 
Car oncques n'y peuz acquester 
D'espoir une seule estincelle: 
Je ne S9ay s'a tous si rebelle 
A este: ce n'est grant esmoy, 
Mais, par saincte Marie la belle 1 
Je n'y voy que rire pour moy. 


Ceste Ballade luy envoye, 
Qui se termine toute en R. 
Qui la portera? Que j'y voye: 
Sera Perinet de la Barre, 
( 170 ) 

The Great Testament 


She has quite enough money as it is. 
As for him, he doesn't care a button; his 
desire is cold, and he leaves it to the heirs 
of Michault, the good lecher who is buried 
at Saint-Satur beneath Sancerre (on the 
right bank of the Loire in the department 
of Cher), that they may pray for him. 


He never had any hope from her (Rose) , 
nor does he care if she turns from others 
as she turned from him. It would amuse 
him; that he swears by Saint Marie la belle 
(Mary Magdalene, the patron saint of 


But here's a ballade for her with all 
the rhymes ending in R. Who shall bear it 
to her? Why, who but Perinet, the Bastard 
de la Barre, so long as if, when he comes 

( 171 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Pourveu, s'il rencontre en son erre 
Ma damoyselle au nez tortu, 
II luy dira, sans plus enqueue: 
"Orde paillarde, d'ou viens-tu?" 


Item, a maistre Ythier, marchant, 
Auquel mon branc laissy jadis, 
Donne (mais qu'il le mette en chant), 
Ce Lay, contenant des vers dix, 
Et aussi ung De Profundis 
Pour ses anciennes amours, 
Desquelles le nom je ne dis, 
Car il me hayroit a tous jours. 


Item, a maistre Jehan Cornu, 
Autres nouveaux lays luy vueil faire, 
Car il m'a tous jours subvenu 
A mon grand besoing et affaire : 
Pour ce, le jardin luy transfere, 
Que maistre Pierre Bobignon 
M'arenta, en faisant re faire 
L'huys et redrecer le pignon. 

The Great Testament 

across his (Villon's) girl with a twisted nose, 
he says to her, "Dirty slut, where have you 
come from?" 

Here follows the ballade. See p. 37. 


Item. To Master Ythier, merchant, to 
whom he left his sword (see Petit Testa- 
ment, verse xi) he leaves the following lay 
to be set to music. It is a De Profundis 
for an old love whose name no one must 
know, else Ythier would hate Villon al- 

Here follow* "Lay, ou Plustost Rondel." See p. 39. 


Item. To Master Jehan Cornu, who 
has looked after his affairs well in the past, 
he gives the garden that Pierre Bobignon 
(in the old editions Bourguignon) rented 
him (Villon), so long as he mends the door 
and gable. Cornu was clerk to the 

( 173 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Par faulte (Tung buys, j'y perdis 
Ung grez et ung manche de hoiie. 
Alors, huyt f aulcons, non pas dix, 
N'y eussent pas prins une alloiie. 
L 'hostel est seur, mais qu'on le cloiie. 
Pour enseigne y mis ung havet. 
Qui que Fait prins, point ne Ten loiie: 
Sanglante nuict et has chevet! 


Item, et pource que la f emme 
De maistre Pierre Sainct Amant 
( Combien, se coulpe y a ou blasme, 
Dien luy pardonne doulcement!) 
Me meist en reng de caymant, 
Pour le Cheval Blanc, qui ne bouge, 
Luy delaisse une jument, 
Et pour la Mulle, ung Asne rouge. 


Item, donne a sire Denys 
Hesselin, Esleu de Paris, 
Quatorze muys de vin d'Aulnis, 
Prins chez Turgis, a mes peril?. 

The Great Testament 


For want of a door he lost a home and 
a hoe-handle. This verse is very obscure, 
and the original French is more luminous 
than Prompsault's (or any other) reading. 


Because the wife of Pierre Sainct Amant 
looks down on him he gives her, for the 
White Horse that does not move, a mare; 
and, for the Mule, a red ass (see Petit 
Testament, verse xn). Sainct Amant was 
clerk of the king's treasury, according to 


Item. He gives to Sire Denis Hesselin 
(Esleu de Paris) fourteen casks of wine 
d'Aulnis stolen from Turgis by Villon at 

( 175 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

S'il en beuvoit tant que periz 
En fust son sens et sa raison, 
Qu'on mette de Feau es barrilz: 
Vin perd mainte bonne maison. 


Item, donne a mon advocat 

Maistre Guillaume Charruau, 

Quoy qu'il marchande ou ait estat, 

Bon branc . . . Je me tays du fourreau, 

II aura, avec ce, ung reau 

En change, affin que sa bourse enfle, 

Prins sur la Chaussee et carreau 

De la grant closture du Temple. 


Item, mon procureur Fournier 
Aura, pour toutes ses corvees 
( Simple seroit de Fespargner) , 
En ma bourse quatre havees, 
car maintes causes m'a saulvees, 
Justes (ainsi Jesus-Christ m'ayde!) 
Comme elle ont este trouvees. . . 
Mais bon droit a bon mestier d'ayde. 
( 176 ) 

The Great Testament 

his peril (Robin Turgis was landlord of the 
Pomme de Pin) . If he drinks too much, let 
him put water in the barrel; wine destroys 
many a good house. Hesselin was a great 
drinker also Provost of the Merchants from 
1470 to 1474. 


Item. He gives to his advocate, Maistre 
Guillaume Charruau, who has turned mer- 
chant, his sword without the scabbard, and 
a Royal in copper money to fill his purse, 
levied from toll on the market-place of the 
Temple. Charruau was at the university be- 
fore Villon. He became Bachelor and 
Master of Arts. 


Item. To his procureur, Fournier, he 
gives "quatre havees" (the havee was a toll 
on the markets of Paris) for his services in 
gaining him certain causes even a good 
cause has need of a good advocate. 

( 177 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, je donne, a maistre Jaques 
Raguyer, le grand godet de Greve, 
Pourveu qu'il payera quatre plaques, 
Deust-il vendre, quoy qu'il luy griefve, 
Ce dont on ceuvre mol et greve, 
Aller, sans chausse, en eschappin, 
Tous les matins, quand il se lieve, 
Au trou de la Pomme de pin. 


Item, quant est de Mairebeuf 
Et de Nicolas de Louviers, 
Vache ne leur donne, ne beuf , 
Car vachers ne sont, ne bouviers, 
Mais gens a porter esperviers 
(Ne cuidez pas que je vous joiiel) 
Pour prendre perdriz et plouviers, 
Sans f aillir, sur la Maschecroiie. 


Item, vienne Robin Turgis 
A moy: je luy payeray son vin. . . 
Combien? S'il trouve mon logis, 
Plus fort sera que le devin. 
( 178 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. He gives to Master Jaques 
Raguyer, the Grand Godet de Greve (a 
public-house on the Place de Greve) on 
condition that he pays four plaques (a coin 
of Charles VII) for rent, even if he has to 
sell his breeches to raise the money, and go 
each morning barefoot to buy wine at the 
Pomme de Pin. 


Item. To Mairebeuf and Nicolas de 
Louviers he gives neither ox nor cow, 
seeing that they are not drovers ; but people 
who go hawking may take partridges and 
plovers without failing on the Maschecroiie 
(supposed to be a plain by the Crou, a lit- 
tle river-tributary of the Seine). Villon 
says he is not joking in this. 


Item. If Robin Turgis comes to him 
he will pay him for his wine; that is to 
say, if Turgis can find him. This may be 
( 179 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Le droit luy donne d'eschevin, 
Que j'ay, comme enfant de Paris. , . 
Se je parle ung pou poictevin, 
Yce m'eut deux dames appris. 


Filles sont tresbelles et gentes, 
Demourantes a Sainct-Genou, 
Pres Sainct- Julian des Voventes, 
Marches de Bretaigne ou Poictou, 
Mais je ne dy proprement ou, 
Par qu'elles passent tous les jours, 
M'arme! ne seray pas si fou, 
Car je veuil celer mes amours. 


Item, a Jehan Raguyer je donne, 
Qui est sergent, voire des Douze, 
Tant qu'il vivra, ainsi Fordonne, 
Tous les jours, une talemouze, 
Pour brouter et f ourrer sa mouse, 
Prinse a la table de Bailly; 
A Maubuey sa gorge arrouse, 
Car au manger n'a pas f ailly. 
( 180 ) 

The Great Testament 

rather difficult, also, he leaves Turgis his 
right, which he holds as a child of Paris. 
If Villon sometimes speaks Poictevin, it was 
taught him by two ladies. 


Girls very fair and kindly, living at 
Sainct-Genou, near Sainct- Julian des Vo- 
ventes, or in the marches of Brittany or 
Poitou. He hints that this address is not the 
right one; he is not going to tell everyone 
where his sweethearts live. 


Item. He gives to Jehan Raguyer (one 
of the twelve sergeants attached to the 
Provost of Paris) a "talemouze" (a sort of 
pie made of eggs, butter, and cheese) every 
day, taken from the table of Bailly. And 
let him quench his thirst at Maubuey (the 
fountain Maubuey was situated in the 
rue de Maubuey, a low street) . 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, donne au Prince des Sotz, 
Pour ung bon sot, Michault du Four, 
Qui a la fois dit de bons motz 
Et chante bien: Ma doulce amour! 
Avec ce, il aura le bon jour. 
Brief, mais qu'il fust ung peu en poinct, 
II est ung droit sot de sejour, 
Et est plaisant oii il n'est point. 


Item, aux unze vingtz Sergens 

Donne, car leur faict est honneste, 

Et sont bonnes et doulces gens, 

Denis Richier et Jehan VaUette, 

A chascun une grant cornette, 

Pour pendre a leurs chappeaulx de feautres 

J'entendz ceulx de pied, a la guette 

Car je n'ay que faire des autres. 


De rechef , donne a Perinet 
J'entendz le bastart de la Barre, 
Pource qu'il est beau fils et net, 
En son escu, en lieu de barre. 

( 182 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. He gives to the Prince of Fools, 
for a companion, Michault du Four, who 
sings so well Ma doulce amour (a song 
of the day). He hints that the wit of 
Michault is a questionable quantity. Four 
was one of the sergeants of the Chatelet. 


He gives to Denis Richier and Jehan 
Vallette, sergeants of the Provostry of 
Paris, a nightcap apiece. Foot-sergeants 
these. He knows nothing of the others (the 
Provost of Paris had two companies of ser- 
geants under him, one horse, the other foot) . 


He gives to Perinet, the Bastard de la 
Barro, cogged dice and swindlers' playing- 
cards, to take the place of the bar on his 

( 183 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Trois dez plombez, de bonne carre, 
Et ung beau joly jeu de cartes. . . 
Mais quoy! s'on 1'oyt vessir ne poirre, 
En oultre, aura les fievres quartes. 


Item, ne vueil plus que Chollet 

Dolle, trenche, douve, ne boyse, 

Relye brocq ne tonnelet, 

Mais tous ses outilz changer voyse 

A une espee lyonnoise, 

Et retienne le hutinet: 

Combien qu'il n'ayme bruyt ne noyse, 

Si luy plaist-il ung tantinet. 

Item, je donne a Jehan le Loup, 
Homme de bien et bon marchant, 
Pource qu'il est linget et flou, 
Et que Chollet est mal cherchant, 
Ung beau petit chiennet couchant, 
Qui ne lairra poulaille en voye, 
Ung long tabart, et bien cachant, 
Pour les musser, qu'on ne les voye. 

The Great Testament 

Perinet was a scapegrace who really 
belonged to a good old family. Jean de 
la Barre was governor of Paris in 1520. 


Item. He gives to Chollet (see Petit 
Testament, verse vm) no workman's tools. 
Let him change his tools for a Lyons 
sword. It will be useful to him in his 

Item. He gives to Jehan le Loup 
"ung long tabart" (to cover his robberies), 
and a young setter to help to catch the 
fowls he is sure to steal. He makes men- 
tion of Chollet again (see Petit Testament, 
verse xxiv) . 

( 185 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, a 1'orfevre Du Boys, 
Donne cent clouz, queues et testes. 
De gingembre sarazinoys, 
Non pas pour accoupler ses boytes, 
Mais pour conjoindre culz et coettes, 
Et couldre jambons et andoilles, 
Tant que le laict en monte es tettes, 
Et le sang en devalle es coilles. 


Au cappitaine Jehan Rou, 

Tant pour luy que pour ses archiers, 

Je donne six hures de lou, 

Qui n'est pas viande a porchiers, 

Prins a gros mastins de bouchiers, 

Et cuittes en vin de buffet. . . 

Pour manger de ces morceaulx chiers, 

On en f eroit bien ung mal f aict. 


C'est viande ung peu plus pesante, 
Que duvet, ne plume, ne liege. 
Elle est bonne a porter en tente, 
Ou pour user en quelque siege. 
( 186 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. To the goldsmith Du Boys he 
giveth a hundred cloves' of ginger. Ginger 
was reckoned an aphrodisiac. The rest of 
the verse is untranslatable but not ob- 


To Captain Jehan Rou "six hures de 

lou" (this is supposed to mean six pounds 

of the flesh of Jean le Loup) stewed in wine 

a fine diet for those who would do deeds 

of ferocityl 


Grand food for an army in the field, or 
besieged! But should the hunting-dogs 

( 187 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Et, s'ilz estoient prins a ung piege, 
Ces mastins, qu'ilz ne sceussent courre, 
J'ordonne, moy qui suis bon miege, 
Que des peaulx, sur Fhyver, se f ourre. 


Item, a Robin Troussecaille, 
Qui en service s'est bien faict, 
A pied ne va comme une caille, 
Mais sur rouen gros et reffaict, 
Je luy donne, de mon buffet, 
Une jatte qu'emprunter n'ose. 
Si aura mesnage parfait: 
Plus ne luy failloit autre chose. 


Item, donne a Perrot Girart, 
Barbier jure du Bourg-la-Royne, 
Deux bassins et ung coquemart, 
Puisqu'a gaigner meet telle peine. 
Des ans y a demy douzaine 
Qu'en son hostel, de cochons gras 
M'apastela, une sepmaine: 
Tesmoing Tabesse de Pourras. 
( 188 ) 

The Great Testament 

fail to catch Jean le Loup, and be killed 
themselves, Villon, who knows all about it, 
orders that their skins should be tanned, 
and made into furs for him (Captain 


Item. To Robin Troussecaille, who dis- 
dains to go afoot, and rides a stout roan, 
he gives his plate, that the said Robin dare 
not borrow nor steal. Robin then will want 
nothing else. 


Item. He gives to Perrot Girart, sworn 
barber of Bourg-la-Royne, two basins and 
a kettle, inasmuch as Perrot supported 
Villon and the Abesse de Pourras for a 
week, killing for them all his pigs. (Perrot 
Girart was also an inn-keeper.) 

( 189 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, aux Freres mendians, 
Aux Devotes et aux Beguines, 
Tant de Paris que d'Orleans, 
Tant Turlupins que Turlupines 
De grasses souppes jacobines 
Et flans leur f ais oblation, 
Et puis apres, soubz les courtines, 
Parler de contemplation. 


Si ne suis-je pas qui leur donne, 
Mais de tous enf ans sont les meres. 
C'est Dieu, qui ainsi les guerdonne, 
Pour qu'ilz souffrent peines ameres. 
II fault qu'ilz vivent, les beaulx peres, 
Et mesmement ceulx de Paris. 
S'ilz font plaisir a noz commeres, 
Us ayment ainsi les maris. 


Quoy que maistre Jehan de Pontlieu 
En voulsist dire, et reliqua, 
Contrainct, et en publique lieu, 
Honteusement s'en revocqua. 

( 190 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. To the Mendicant Brothers, the 
Devotes, the Beguines of Paris and Or- 
leans, he makes oblation of fat soups and 
custards. (Prompsault thinks the Devotes 
were the same as the Filles-Dieu. ) When 
they have filled themselves let them talk of 
contemplation (under the sheets). 


In this and the two succeeding stanzas 
he talketh of the church-people aforesaid. 

( 191 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Maistre Jehan de Meung se moqua 
De leur fa9on; si feit Mathieu. 
Mais on doit honnorer ce qu'a 
Honnore 1'Eglise de Dieu. 


Si me soubmectz leur serviteur, 
En tout ce que puis f aire et dire, 
A les honnorer de bon cueur, 
Et servir, sans y contredire. 
L'homme bien fol est d'en mesdire, 
Car, soit a part, ou en prescher, 
Ou ailleurs, il ne fault pas dire 
Si gens sont pour eulx revencher. 


Item, je donne a frere Baulde, 
Demourant a Fhostel des Carmes, 
Portant chere bardie et baulde, 
Une sallade et deux guysarmes, 
Que De Tusca et ses gens d'armes 
Ne luy riblent sa Caige-vert. 
Vieil est: s'il ne se rend aux armes, 
C'est bien le diable de Vauvert. 
( 192 ) 

The Great Testament 


He gives to frere Baulde (Henri Baulde, 
a contemporary poet) certain armour to 
help him resist De Tusca (sergeant of po- 
lice), should the latter interfere in his 
amours. Baulde belonged to the Carmelites 
of the Place Maubert. He was one of Vil- 
lon's boon companions. 

( 193 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, pource que le S^elleur 
Maint estront de mousche a masche, 
Donne, car homme est de valleur, 
Son sceau davantage crache, 
Et qu'il ait le poulce escache, 
Pour tout empraindre a une voye: 
J'entendy celluy de 1'Evesche, 
Car les autres, Dieu les pourvoye. 


Quant de messieurs les Auditeux, 
Leur Chambre auront lembroysee, 
Et ceulx qui ont le cul rongneux, 
Chascun une chaise percee, 
Mais qu'a la petite Mace 
D'Orleans, qui eut ma ceincture, 
L'amende soit bien hault taxee: 
Elle est une mauvaise ordure. 


Item, donne a maistre Fran9oys, 
Promoteur de la vacquerie. 
Ung hault gorgerin d'Escossoys, 
Toutesfois sans orfaverie: 
( 194 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. He gives to the Chancellor of 
Orleans (Jean de Sellier) a curse. Let him 
spew on his own seal and sprain his thumb. 


He gives Messieurs the Auditors pannel- 
ing for their chamber and each a pierced 
chair if they will properly punish Macee 
d' Orleans, a prostitute who stole his vir- 
ginity! "Elle est une mauvaise ordure." 


He gives to Maistre Fran^oys an eccle- 
siastic a Scotch throat-protector, inas- 

( 195 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Car, quant receut chevalerie, 
II maugrea Dieu et saint George. 
Parler n'en oyt, qu'il ne s'en rie, 
Comme enrage, a pleine gorge. 


Item, a maistre Jehan Laurens, 
Qui a les povres yeulx si rouges, 
Par le peche de ses parens, 
Qui beurent en barilz et courges, 
Je donne Fenvers de mes bouges, 
Pour chascun matin les torcher. . . 
S'il fust archevesque de Bourges, 
Du cendal eust, mais il est cher. 


Item, a maistre Jehan Cotart, 
Mon procureur en Court d'Eglise, 
Devoye environ ung patart 
(A ceste heure je m'en advise), 
Quant chicanner me feit Denise, 
Disant que Favoye mauldite: 
Pour son ame, qu'es cieulx soit mise, 
Ceste Oraison j'ay cy escripte. 

( 196 ) 

The Great Testament 

much as he cursed God and St. George 
when he put on chivalry, and always laughs 
when he hears them spoken of. 


Item. To Maistre Jehan Laurens, whose 
poor eyes are always red (from the sin of 
his parents, who were drunkards), he gives 
his hose to wipe them with every morning. 
If Jehan had been Archbishop of Bourges 
he would have had sendal for the purpose 
but it is dear. Laurens was one of the 
judges who tried Guy Tabarie for theft. 


Item. To Maistre Jehan Cotart, his pro- 
cureur in the Court d'Eglise (Court of 
Arches), who defended him when an action 
was brought against him by a girl called 
Denise for having sworn at her (damned her 
soul, most probably) he gives this oraison. 

Here follows "Ballade et Oraison/' See p. 40. 

( 197 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, vueil que Germain de Merle 
Desormais gouverne mon change, 
Car de changer envys me mesle, 
Pourveu que tous jours bailie en change, 
Soit a prive, soit a estrange, 
Pour trois escus, six brettes targes, 
Pour deux angelotz, ung grand ange : 
Car amans doivent estre larges. 


Item, j'ay sceu, en ce voyage, 
Que mes trois povres orphelins 
Sont creus et deviennent en aage, 
Et n'ont pas testes de belins, 
Et qu'enfans d'icy a Salins 
N'a mieulx sachans leur tour d'escolle. 
Or, par 1'ordre des Mathelins, 
Telle jeunesse n'est pas folle. 


Si vueil qu'ilz voysent a Festude. 
Ou? Chez maistre Pierre Richer. 
Le Donnet est pour eulx trop rude: 
Ja ne les y vueil empescher. 

( 198 ) 

m i 

The Great Testament 


Item. He wills that Germain de Merle 
shall govern his bank, and that he shall give 
good change. For three ecus, six Breton 
targes (a targe equalled one demiecu) ; for 
two demi-anges, one ange. Lovers should 
always be generous. Merle was a merchant 
of Paris. 


Item. He has seen that his three poor 
orphans (see Petit Testament, verses xxv- 
xxvi ) are grown up and are not fools. 
They live at Salins, and there are no better 


He wills that they should be sent to 
college under Pierre Richer. The grammar 
of ^lius Donatus (then in use at the Paris 
University) is too stiff for them. He does 

( 199 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Ilz S9auront ( je 1'ayme plus cher) : 
Ave solus, tibi decus, 
Sans plus grandes lettres chercher: 
Tous jours n'ont pas clercs le dessus. 


Cecy estudient, et puis ho! 
Plus proceder je leur deifens. 
Quant d'entendre le grand Credo, 
Trop fort il est pour telz enfans. 
Mon grant tabart en deux je fendz: 
Si vueil que la moictie s'en vende, 
Pour eulx en achepter des flans, 
Car jeunesse est ung peu friande. 


Et vueil qu'ilz soient inf ormez 
En meurs, quoy que couste bature. 
Chapperons auront enfermez, 
Et les poulces soubz la ceincture, 
Humbles a toute creature, 
Disans: Hen? Quoy? II nen est rien! 
Si diront gens, par adventure: 
"Vez la enfans de lieu de bien"! 
( 200 ) 

The Great Testament 

not want to push them in learning too 
hard. Learned people in these times make 
little way in the world. Let them learn the 
Ave solus j tibi decus. 


That is enough. The Grand Credo is too 
hard for boys. He would tear his long 
tabard in two and sell half of it to buy 
them custards children love sweets. 


He would have them taught good man- 
ners. They must wear close hoods and keep 
their thumbs in their girdles, making reply, 
"Hen? Quoy? II n'en est rien." So that 
folk may say, "These are well bred boys." 

( 201 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, a mes povres clergeons, 
Auxquelz mes tiltres je resigne, 
Beaulx enfans et droictz comme joncs, 
Les voyans, je m'en dessaisine, 
Et, sans recevoir, leur assigne, 
Seur comme qui Tauroit en paulme, 
A ung certain jour que Ton signe, 
Sur Fhostel de Gueutry Guillaume. 


Quoy que jeunes et esbatans 
Soyent, en rien ne me desplaist. 
Dedans vingt, trente ou quarante ans, 
Bien autres seront, se Dieu plaist. 
II faict mal, qui ne leur complaist: 
Us sont tresbeaux enf ants et gents, 
Et qui les bat ou fiert fol est, 
Car enfans si deviennent gens. 


Les bourses des Dix-et-huict clercs 
Auront, je m'y vueil travailler: 
Pas ilz ne dorment comme lerz, 
Qui trois mois sont sans resveiller. 
( 202 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. To his poor clerks (see Petit 
Testament, verse xxvin) he gives the rent 
of the pillory. 


They will get on all right and become 
men. Though they are now young and 
rackety, twenty, thirty, or forty years will 
make a lot of difference. Whoever beats 
or abuses them is a fool. 


They will have the purses of the eighteen 
clerks (become members of the College 
des Dix-huit founded for poor students 

( 203 ) 

Grand Testament 

Au fort, triste est le sommeiller 
Que faict jeune cueur en jeunesse, 
Tant qu'enfin luy faille veiller, 
Quant reposer deust en viellesse. 


Cy en rescris au Collateur 
Lettres semblables ou pareilles: 
Or prient pour leur bienfaicteur, 
Ou qu'on leur tire les oreilles. 
Aucunes gens ont grans merveilles 
Que tant m'encline envers ces deux; 
Mais, f oy que doy, festes et veilles, 
Oncques ne vey les meres d'eulx! 


Item, donne a Michault Culdou, 
Et a sire Chariot Taranne, 
Cent solz (s'ilz demandent prins ou, 
Ne leur chaille, ils viendront de manne) , 
Et unes bottes de basanne, 
Autant empeigne que semelle, 
Pourveu qu'ilz me saulveront Jehanne, 
Et autant une autre comme elle. 
( 204 ) 

The Great Testament 

near the College de Cluny). They are not 
like dormice, that sleep away their time. Let 
not youth sleep, else age may have to keep~ 


Therefore he writes to the Collateur 
(Almoner of the College des Dix-huit) to 
see that they pray for their benefactor. If 
not, to pull their ears. People wonder why 
he takes such an interest in them. He swears 
he has never even seen their mothers! 


Item. He gives to Michault Culdou and 
to Chariot Taranne a hundred sols, also a 
pair of boots of tanned leather, on condi- 
tion that they have nothing to do with Je- 
hanne (Jehanne de Bretagne? see verse 
CXLI) or any one like her. 

( 205 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, au seigneur de Grigny, 
Auquel jadis laissay Vicestre, 
Je donne la tour de Billy, 
Pourveu (se buys y a ne fenestre 
Qui soit de debout ne en estre) 
Qu'il mette tresbien tout en poinct, 
Face argent, a dextre, a senestre: 
II m'en fault, et il n'en a point. 


Item, a Thibault de la Garde: 
Thibault? Je mentz, il a nom Jehan. 
Que luy donray-je, que ne perde? 
Assez ay perdu tout cest an. 
Dieu le vueille pouvoir, amen! . . . 
Le barillet? Par m'ame, voyre! 
Genevoys est plus ancien, 
Et a plus beau nez pour y boyre. 


Item, je donne a Basanyer, 
Notaire et greffier criminel, 
De giroffle plain ung panyer, 
Prins chez maistre Jehan de Ruel; 
( 206 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. To the Seigneur de Grigny (to 
whom, in the Petit Testament, he left 
Bicetre) he gives the Tour de Billy (an old 
powder-magazine now in ruins on the Seine 
bank, close to the Hotel St. Pol) on the con- 
dition that he patches it up. 


Item. To Thibault de la Garde, whose 
real name is John (see Petit Testament, 
verse xxxin) . He gives nothing; can't af- 
ford it. (Thibault is the before-mentioned 
grocer of La Garde.) He is supposed in 
reality to be Petit Thibault, otherwise 
known as Petit Jean, the robber. 


Item. He gives to Bassanyer, Notary 
et greffier criminel (see Petit Testament, 
verse xxi) a basket of cloves stolen by 
Villon from the shop of Jehan de Ruel. 

( 207 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Tant a Mautainct, tant a Resnel; 

Et, avec ce don de giroffle, 

Servir, de cueur gent et ysnel, 

Le seigneur qui sert sainct Cristofle 


Auquel ceste Ballade donne, 
Pour sa dame, qui tous biens a. 
S 'amours ainsi tous ne guer donne, 
Je ne m'esbahys de cela, 
Car au Pas conquester Fala, 
Que tint Rene, roy de Cecille, 
Ou si bien fist et peu parla 
Qu'oncques Hector f eit, ne Troile. 


Item, a sire Jehan Perdryer, 
Riens, n'a Fran9oys, son second f rere, 
S'ils m'ont tous jours voulu aydier, 
Et de leurs biens faire confrere, 
Combien que Fran^oys, mon compere, 
Langues cuisans, flambans et rouges, 
My commandement, my priere, 
Me recommanda fort a Bourges. 
( 208 ) 

The Great Testament 

He gives the same to Mautainct and Resnel 
that they may serve well the seigneur who 
serves Saint Christopher. (Jehan de Ruel 
is the same Thibault de la Garde; he had a 
grocer's shop at Rueil.) The seigneur in 
question was Robert d'Estouteville. 


To this seigneur, who gained his bride at 
the tournament organised by King Rene, 
he dedicates the following ballade of 
which the two first verses give the acrostic 
Ambroise de Lorede. Poor Ambroise 
died in 1468, "Espoused for this do we two 

Here follows the ballade. See p. 42. 


Item. He gives nothing to Sire Jehan 
Perdryer, and nothing to Frai^oys, his 
brother. If they have helped him at times 
they have slanderous tongues ("flambans et 
rouges"). They were his accomplices, and 
denounced him at Bourges. Hence his im- 

( 209 ) 

L,e Grand Testament 


Si aille veoir, en Taillevent, 
Ou chapitre de fricassure, 
Tout au long, derriere et devant, 
Lequel n'en parle jus ne sure. 
Mais Macquaire, je vous asseure, 
Atout le poil cuysant ung dyable, 
Affin que sentist bon Tarsure, 
Ce Recipe m'escript, sans fable. 


Item, a maistre Andry Courault, 
Les Contredictz Franc-Gontier mande. 
Quant du Tyrant seant en hault, 
A cestuy-la rien ne demande. 
Le Saige ne veult que contende, 
Centre puissant, povre homme las, 
Affin que ses filez ne tende 
Et que ne tresbuche en ses laqs. 
( 210 ) 

The Great Testament 


Let them go and read in Taillevent (the 
book by Taillevent, chief cook to the King 
of France) the chapter on fricassees to see 
if they can find out Villon's method of 
stewing them. No, it was Macquaire 
(Saint Macaire) whom he once met cooking 
a devil that gave him the following. So we 
may imagine. 

Here follows the ballade. See Appendix. 


Item. To Maistre Andry Courault he 
gives the Contredictz Franc-Gontier (a lit- 
tle book vaunting the simple life and en- 
titled Les Ditz de Franc Gontier, produced 
a counterblast called the Contredictz de 
Franc-Gontier^ in which the life of a cer- 
tain seigneur was caricatured). Villon, 
wiser, uses in his ballade only the life of a 
fat priest. It does not do to cross the path 
of great people. 

( 211 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Gontier ne crains: il n'a nulz hommes, 

Et mieulx que moy n'est herite. 

Mais en ce debat cy nous sommes, 

Car il loue sa povrete: 

Estre povre, yver et este, 

A felicite il repute: 

Ce que tiens a malheurete. 

Lequel a tort? Or en dispute. 


Item, pource que S9ait la Bible 
Madamoyselle de Bruyeres, 
Donne prescher lors FEvangile 
A elle et a ses bachelieres, 
Pour retraire ces villotieres 
Qui ont le bee si affile, 
Mais que ce soit hors cymetieres 
Trop bien au marche au file. 

( 212 ) 

The Great Testament 


Gontier praises poverty; Villon cries out 
against it. He leaves it to the reader to de- 
cide which is right. Gontier, by the way, 
was Philippe de Vitry, Bishop of Meaux. 
The Contredictz were written by Cardinal 
Pierre d'Ailly, Chancellor of the University 
of Paris. 

Here follows the ballade. See p. 44. 


Item. He bestows the following bal- 
lade upon Madamoyselle de Bruyeres and 
her kind. That is to say, Isabelle de 
Bruyers, widow of Regnauld de Thumery. 
This is probably the Isabeau of Villon's 

Here follows "The Ballade Des Femmes de Paris." 
See p. 47. 

( 213 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Regarde-m'en deux, trois, assises 
Sur le bas du ploy de leurs robes, 
En ces monstiers, en ces eglises: 
Tire-toy pres, et ne t'en hobes; 
Tu trouveras la que Macrobes 
Oncques ne fist fels jugemens; 
Entens quelque chose en desrobes: 
Ce sont f ous beaulx enseignemens. 


Item, et au mont de Montmartre, 
Qui est ung lieu moult ancien, 
Je luy donne et adjoins le tertre 
Qu'on dit le mont Valerien, 
Et, oultre plus, ung quartier d'an 
Du pardon qu'apportay de Romme: 
Si y va maint bon chrestian 
Veoir Fabbaye ou il n'entre homme. 


Item, a varletz, chambrieres 
(De bons hostelz riens ne me nuyst) 
Faisans tartes, flans et goyeres, 
Et grant ravaudiz a minuict: 
( 214 ) 

The Great Testament 


Look at them seated in convents and 
churches, on the edges of their robes by two 
and three steal close to them, and you will 
hear judgments which Macrobius could not 
give. (He refers to the works of Macro- 
bius entitled, S omnium Scipionis and the 
Saturnalia, first printed by Jenson at Ven- 
ice in 1472.) 


Item. To Montmartre he gives Mont 
Valerian. Let them be joined. There was 
a convent on each hill, and each convent was 
built on the ruins of a pagan temple and 
to both he will give for three months the par- 
don he has brought from Rome. He judges 
that many men will thus be found on the 


Item. To the servants, male and female, 
of good hostels he gives all sorts of good 
food and revelry. 

( 215 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Riens n'y font sept pintes ne huict, 
Tant que gisent seigneur et dame; 
Puis apres, sans mener grant bruyt, 
Ont chascune nuict une femme. 


Item, et a filles de bien, 
Qui ont peres, meres et antes, 
Par m'ame! je ne donne rien, 
Car j'ay tout donne aux servantes, 
Mais ell' seront de peu contentes: 
Grant bien leur f eissent maintz lopins, 
Aux povres filles advenantes, 
Qui se perdent aux Jacopins. 


Aux Celestins et aux Chartreux, 
Quoyque vie meinent estroicte, 
Si ont-ilz largement entre eulx, 
Dont povres filles ont souffrette: 
Tesmoing Jaqueline et Perrette, 
Et Isabeau, qui dit: Enne! 
Puisqu'elles ont telle disette, 
A peine en seroit-on damne. 
( 216 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. To good girls possessing fathers, 
mothers, and aunts, he gives nothing. He 
has nothing to give, as he has given every- 
thing to the servants, who are always con- 
tent with little. Yet they deserve something, 
if only the leavings of the Jacobins. (He 
refers to the rich establishment of the Jaco- 
bins in the rue St. Jacques.) 

He complains that the rich houses of the 
religious orders (Celestins and Chartreux 
included) indulge in food that the poor girls 
know nothing of. Poor Jaqueline and Per- 
rette and Isabeau, always hungry surely 
after such a life in this world they will 
escape damnation in the next! 

( 217 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, a la grosse Margot, 
Tresdoulce face et pourtraicture, 
Foy que doy, Belare Bigod, 
Assez devote creature: 
Je Fayme de propre nature, 
Et elle moy, la doulce sade. 
Qui la trouvera d'adventure, 
Qu'on luy lise ceste Ballade. 


Item, a Marion 1'Ydolle, 
Et la grant Jehanne de Bretaigne, 
Donne tenir publique escolle, 
Ou Tescolier le maistre enseigne. 
Lieu n'est ou ce marche ne tienne, 
Sinon en la geolle de Mehun; 
De quoy je dy: Fy de Tenseigne, 
Puisque Touvrage est si commun! 
( 218 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. To fat Margot, fair to look at, 
and devout enough he gives this ballade. 

Here follows "The Ballade of Villon and La 
Grosse Margot." See Appendix. 


Item. To Marion FYdolle (The Statue, 
Filles de joie were nicknamed from their 
appearance) and big Joan of Brittany he 
gives the right to keep a public school ( ! ) 
where the scholars shall teach the masters 
a common thing except in Mehun jail. 

( 219 ) 

L,e Grand Testament 


Item, a Noe le Jolys, 
Autre chose je ne luy donne, 
Fors plain poing d'osiers frez cueilliz 
En mon jardin: je 1'abandonne. 
Chastoy est une belle aulmosne: 
Ame n'en doit estre marry. 
Unze vingtz coups luy en erdonne, 
Par les mains de maistre Henry. 


Item, ne scay que a THostel-Dieu 
Donner, n'aux povres hospitaulx: 
Bourdes n'ont icy temps ne lieu, 
Car povres gens ont assez maulx. 
Chascun leur envoye leurs aulx. 
Les Mandians ont eu mon oye. 
Au fort, ilz en auront les os: 
A menues gens menue mohnoye. 


Item, je donne a mon barbier, 
Qui se nomme Colin Galerne, 
Pres voysin d'Angelot THerbier, 
Ung gros glasson . . . Prins ou? En 

( 220 ) 

T/ie Great Testament 


Item. To Noe le Jolys the man who 
beat him at the order of Katherine de 
Vaucelles he gives nothing but a handful 
of osiers from his garden, the said Noe to 
be thrashed with the osiers at the hands of 
Henri Cousin (the sworn tormentor of the 
Provostry of Paris). 


Item. He does not know what to leave 
to the Hotel-Dieu. In other words, he does 
not care to jest about sick people who have 
troubles enough and to spare. Let them 
have the leavings of the rich tables. The 
Mendicants have had his goose; there is 
nothing for the hospitals but the bones. To 
poor people little mercy. 


He gives to his barber, Colin Galerne, 
who lives near Angelot, the herbalist, 
a big lump of ice from the Marne, to put 
( 221 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Affin qu'a son ayse s'yverne. 
De Festomach le tienne pres. 
Se 1'yver ainsi se gouverne, 
II n'aura chauld 1'este d'apres. 


Item, rien aux Enf ans-Trouvez, 
Mais les perduz fault que console, 
Si doivent estre retrouvez, 
Par droict, chez Marion FYdolle, 
Une lec,on de mon escolle 
Leur liray, qui ne dure guiere. 
Teste n'ayent dure ne f olle, 
Mais escoutent : c'est la darniere ! 


A vous parle, compaings de galles, 
Qui estes de tous bons accords : 
Gardez-vous tous de ce mau hasles, 
Qui noircist gens quand ilz sont mortz; 
Eschevez-le, c'est ung mal mors; 
Passez-vous au mieulx que pourrez, 
Et, pour Dieu, soyez tous recors 
Qu'une fois viendra que mourrez, 
( 222 ) 

The Great Testament 

on his stomach (to match his cold heart?). 
After that he won't bother about seasonal 
temperature. Galerne was also church- 
warden at Saint- Germain-le-Vieux, one of 
the churches on the cite. 


He leaves nothing to the "Enfans- 
Trouvez"; but to the Lost Ones who 
frequent Marion FYdolle he will read the 
following lesson in the form of a ballade. 

Here follows "Ballade de Villon aux Enfans Per- 
duz" and "Ballade de Bonne Doctrine." See pp. 4>9, 


He calls on his evil companions to look 
out for the gallows. "Beware of the sun 
that blackens men when they are dead." 

( 223 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, je donne aux Quinze-Vingtz, 
Qu'autant vauldroit nommer Trois-Cens, 
De Paris, non pas de Provins, 
Car a eulx tenu je me sens; 
Ilz auront, et je m'y consens, 
Sans leur estui, mes grans lunettes, 
Pour mettre a part, aux Innocens, 
Les gens de bien des deshonnestes. 


Icy n'y a ne rys ne jeu! 
Que leur vault avoir eu chevances, 
N'en grans lictz de parement geu, 
Engloutir vin en grosses pances, 
Mener joye, festes et dances, 
Et de ce prest estre a toute heure? 
Tantost faillent telles plaisances, 
Et la coulpe si en demeure. 


Quand je considere ces testes 
Entassees en ces charniers, 
Tous furent maistres des requestes, 
Au moins de la Chambre aux Deniers, 
( 224 ) 

The Great Testament 


Item. He gives to the Quinze-Vingtz 
of Paris, not of Provins (hospital for the 
blind) his spectacles, that they may pick out 
the bad from the good in the Cemetery of 
the Innocents. (Prompsault thinks that the 
Quinze-Vingtz of Provins was a cabaret.) 
The Quinze-Vingtz were bound to supply a 
certain number of mourners to the funerals 
in the cemetery of the Innocents. 


There (in the cemetery) is neither 
laughter nor play, no "beds of honour," no 
fetes nor dances ; nothing remains. But sin 
does not die. 


When he considers all those lying here, 
lords and poor folk, bishops and basket- 
( 225 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Ou tous furent porte-paniers, 
Autant puis Tung que 1'autre dire: 
Car, d'evesques ou lanterniers, 
Je n'y congnois rien a redire. 


Et icelles qui s'inclinoient 
Unes centre autres en leurs vies, 
Desquelles les unes regnoient, 
Des autres craintes et servies: 
La les voy toutes assouvies, 
Ensemble en ung tas mesle-pesle. 
Seigneuries leur sont ravies: 
Clerc ne maistre ne s'y appelle. 


Or sont-ilz mortz, Dieu ayt leurs ames 1 
Quant est des corps, liz sont pourriz. 
Ayent este seigneurs ou dames, 
Souef et tendrement nourriz 
De cresme, fromentee ou riz, 
Leurs os sont declinez en pouldre, 
Auxquelz ne chault d'eshatz, ne riz. . . 
Plaise au doulx Jesus les absouldrel 
( 226 ) 

The Great Testament 

carriers, he sees that their corpses are just 
the same. 


People, too, who once bowed to each other, 
princesses and servants all are heaped to- 
gether; master or clerk, there is no appeal. 


Now they are dead God takes their 
souls. Seigneurs and dames, soft and 
tenderly nourished, on cream, frumenty, and 
rice all mouldering to dust. May Christ 
absolve them. 

( 227 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Aux trespassez je fais ce Lays, 
Et icelluy je communique 
A regentz, courtz, sieges et plaids, 
Hayneurs d'avarice 1'inique, 
Lesquelz pour la chose publique 
Se seichent les os et les corps: 
De Dieu et de sainct Dominique 
Soient absolz, quand ilz seront mortz! 


Item, rien a Jaques Cardon 
(Car rien plus n'ay que soit honneste, 
Non pas que le jette a bandon), 
Sinon ceste bergeronnette : 
S'elle eust le chant Marionnette., 
Faict pour Marion la Peau-Tarde, 
Ou de Ouvrez vostre huys, Guillemette, 
Elle allast bien a la moustarde. 


Item, donne a maistre Lomer, 
Comme extraict que je suis de fee, 
Qu'il soit bien ame; mais, d'amer 
Fille en chief ou femme coeffee, 
( 228 ) 

The Great Testament 

He makes this lay for them. 


He leaves nothing to Jacques Cardon, ex- 
cept this rondel. Jacques Cardon was a 
merchant draper and hosier. He lived in the 
Place Maubert. 

Here follows rondel. See p. 58. 


This gift he leaves to Maistre Lomer: 
that he shall be well loved but incapable 
of returning love, so that he may not 
( 229 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Ja n'en ait la teste eschauffee, 
Et qu'il ne luy couste une noix 
Faire au soir cent fois la faifee. 
En despit d'Ogier le Danois. 


Item, donne aux amans enfermes, 
Oultre le Lay Alain Chartier, 
A leur chevetz, de pleurs et lermes 
Trestout fin plain ung benoistier, 
Et ung petit brin d'esglantier, 
En tout temps verd, pour gouppillon, 
Pourveu qu'ilz diront ung Psaultier 
Pour Fame du povre Villon. 


Item, a maistre Jaques James, 
Qui se tue d'amasser biens, 
Donne fiancer tant de femmes 
Qu'il vouldra; mais d'espouser, riens. 
Pour qui amasse-il? Pour les siens. 
II ne plainct, f ors que ses morceaulx. 
Ce qui fut aux truyes, je tiens 
Qu'il doit de droit estre aux pourceaulx. 
( 230 ) 

The Great Testament 

be fooled for women may be easily 
bought, despite the words of Holgar the 


He gives to love-sick ones Alain Char- 
tier's Lay (I'Hopital d 3 amour?) a little 
bowl of/tears, and a branch of eglantine al- 
ways fresh, for a sprinkler, on condition 
that they recite a Psalter for the soul of poor 
Villon. ' 


Item. To Maistre Jaques James, who is 
killing himself making money, he gives all 
the women he wants, but no wife. Let the 
money made from women go back to 
women. (A nice commentary on the life -of 
Jaques James!) 

( 231 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Item, le Camus, seneschal, 
Qui une fois paya mes debtes, 
En recompense, mareschal 
Sera, pour ferrer ses canettes. 
Je luy envoye ces sornettes 
Pour soy desennuyer; combien, 
Si veult, face-en des alumettes. 
De bien chanter s'ennuye-on bien. 


Item, au Chevalier du Guet 

Je donne deux beaulx petiz pages, 

Philippot et le gros marquet, 

Qui ont servy (dont sont plus sages), 

La plus grant partie de leurs aages, 

Tristan, prevost des mareschaulx. 

Helas, s'ilz sont cassez de gaiges, 

Aller leur fauldra tous deschaulx! 


Item, a Chappelain je laisse 
Ma chapelle a simple tonsure, 
Chargee d'une seiche messe, 
Ou il ne fault pas grant lecture. 

( 232 ) 

The Great Testament 


Unto Camus the Seneschal, who once 
paid his debts, he bequeaths the right of 
shoeing not only horses, but ducks and geese 
let him laugh at this fun, or make a fire- 
lighter of it. The ducks referred to by Vil- 
lon were probably human ducks. The rue 
des Canettes, in the Faubourg St. Germain, 
was named after its frequenters. 


To the Captain of the Watch he gives 
two pretty pages Philipot and fat Marquet. 
They have already served Tristan Prevost 
des Mareschaulx (Tristan the Hermit; see 
Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris) . If 
they should lose their engagement they 
must go barefooted. Tristan was provost 
of the Hotel du Roi. 


Item. He leaves to Chappelain his 
"chapelle a simple tonsure," charging him 
only to say a low mass. Villon would 
( 233 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

Resigne luy eusse ma cure, 
Mais point ne veult de charge (Tames; 
De confesser, ce dit, n'a cure, 
Sinon chambrieres et dames. 


Pource que s^ait bien mon entente, 
Jehan de Calays, honnorable homme, 
Qui ne me veit, des ans a trente, 
Et ne S9ait comment je me nomine; 
De tout ce Testament, en somme, 
S'aucune y a difficulte, 
Oster jusqu'au rez d'une pomme, 
Je luy en donne faculte. 


De le gloser et commenter, 
De le diffinir ou prescripre, 
Diminuer ou augmenter; 
De le canceller ou transcripre 
De sa main, ne sceust-il escripre; 
Interpreter, et donner sens, 
A son plaisir, meilleur ou pire: 
A tout cecy je m'y consens. 
( 234 ) 

The Great Testament 

have given him his cure of souls, but he only 
cares for confessing women ( "chambrieres 
et dames"). 


He gives Jehan de Calais, who has not 
seen him for thirty years, the right to 
revise this Testament. Calais was a rich 
bourgeois, he had for wife a lady named 
Denise, probably the same Denise whose 
soul Villon damned. See verse cxv, p. 


To glose and comment upon it, diminish 
or augment, scratch out or transcribe, and 
interpret according to his will hinting that 
Jehan is no scribe. 

( 235 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Et s'aucun, dont n'ay congnoissance, 

Estoit alle de mort a vie, 

Audict Calais donne puissance, 

Affin que 1'ordre soit suyvie 

Et mon ordonnance assouvie, 

Que ceste aulmosne ailleurs transporte, 

Sans se Tappliquer par envie: 

A son ame je m'en rapporte. 


Item, j'ordonne a Saincte-Avoye, 
Et non ailleurs, ma sepulture; 
Et, affin que chascun me voye, 
Non pas en chair, mais en paincture, 
Que Ton tire mon estature 
D'ancre, s'il ne coustoit trop cher. 
De tumbel? Rien: je n'en ay cure, 
Car il greveroit le plancher. 


Item, vueil qu'autour de ma fosse, 
Ce que s'ensuyt, sans autre histoire, 
Soit escript, en lettre assez grosse; 
Et qui n'auroit point d'escriptoire, 
( 236 ) 

The Great Testament 


The aforesaid Calais to see all gifts 
properly apportioned and distributed, and 
to take nothing for himself. 


He orders that his body shall be buried 
at Sainte-Avoye (the convent of the Filles 
Sainte-Avoye; the chapel of this convent had 
no graveyard) and that his monument be a 
picture done in ink. He wants no tomb of 
stone, it would break the floor down. The 
chapel of the Filles Sainte-Avoye was situ- 
ated on the second floor of the building. 


Item. Let there be written over his 
grave, in large letters, in charcoal 

( 237 ) 

L,e Grand Testament 

De charbon soit, ou pierre noire, 
Sans en rien entamer le piastre 
(Au moins sera de moy memoire, 
Telle qu'il est <Tung bon folastre) : 




Item, je vueil qu'on sonne en branle 
Le gros beff roy, qui n'est de verre, 
Combien que cueur n'est qui ne tremble 
Quand de sonner est a son erre. 
Sonne a mainte belle guerre, 
Le temps passe, chascun le scet: 
Fussent gens d'arnies ou tonnerre, 
Au son de luy tout mal cessoit. 
( 238 ) 

The Great Testament 

taking care not to break the plaster the 

Here follow epitaph and rondel. See pp. 54, 55. 


Item. He orders that they toll for him 
"le gros beffroy" (the biggest bell of Notre- 
Dame, only sounded on the death of kings 
and other great occasions). This great bell 
was given to Notre Dame by Jean de Mon- 
taigue in the year 1400. 

( 239 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Les sonneurs auront quatre miches, 
Et, se c'est peu, demy-douzaine, 
Autant qu'en donnent les plus riches: 
Mais ell'seront de sainct Estienne. 
Vollant est homme de grant paine: 
L'ung en sera. Quand j'y regarde, 
II en vivra une sepmaine. 
Et 1'autre? Au fort, Jehan de la Garde, 


Pour tout ce f ournir et parf aire, 
J'ordonne mes executeurs, 
Auxquelz f aict bon avoir affaire, 
Et contentent bien leurs debteurs. 
Ilz ne sont pas trop grans venteurs, 
Et ont bien de quoy, Dieu mercys! 
De ce faict seront directeurs. . . 
Escrys: je t'en nommeray six. 


C'est maistre Martin Bellefaye, 
Lieutenant du cas criminel. 
Qui sera Tautre? J'ypensoye: 
Ce sera sire Colombel. 
( 240 ) 

The Great Testament 


He orders four loaves to be given to the 
ringers ; or, if that is too little, half a dozen. 
Let Vollant and Jehan de la Garde share in 
this. (The number of loaves distributed 
was according to the wealth of deceased.) 


He now proceeds to give the names of 
his executors, all honest men. They are six 
in number. 

They are: First, Maistre Martin Belle- 

( 241 ) 

Le Grand Testament 

S'il luy plaist, et il luy est bel, 

II entreprendra ceste charge. 

Et 1'autre? Michel Jouvenel. 

Ces trois seulz, et pour tout, j'en charge. 


Mais, au cas qu'ilz s'en excusassent, 
En redoubtant les premiers f rais, 
Ou totalement recussasent, 
Ceulx qui s'ensuivent cy-apres 
J'institue, gens de bien tres: 
Philippe Brun, noble escuyer, 
Et Fautre, son voysin d'empres, 
Cy est maistre Jaques Raguyer. 


Et Faultre, maistre Jaques James: 
Trois hommes de bien et d'honneur, 
Desirans de saulver leurs ames, 
Et craignans Dieu Nostre Seigneur, 
Car plus tost y metront du leur 
Que ceste ordonnance ne baillent. 
Point n'auront de contrerooleur, 
Mais a leur seul plaisir en taillent. 
( 242 ) 

The Great Testament 

faye, Lieutenant du cas criminel; next, sire 
Colombel; thirdly, Michel Jouvenel. Belle- 
f aye became councillor of the Parliament of 
Paris; he died in 1502. Guillaume Colom- 
bel became councillor of the king; he died in 
1475. Michel Jouvenel, bailly of Troyes, 
died in 1470. 


In case these fail, he names Philippe 
Brun and Maistre Jaques Raguyer. Phi- 
lippe Brun, or Bruneau, was the son of 
Etienne Bruneau. Raguyer was a haunter 
of the Pomme de Pin, a great drinker, be- 
came Bishop of Troyes, and died in 1518. 


And, for a third, Maistre Jaques James. 
Three men of honour are these; so honest 
are they that Villon gives them free rein 
without control over his affairs. (Perhaps 
the most damning testimonial ever received 
by three men.) 

( 243 ) 

Le Grand Testament 


Des testamens, qu'en dit le Maistre? 
De mon faict n'aura quid ne quod; 
Mais ce sera ung jeune prebstre, 
Qui se nomme Colas Tacot. 
Voulentiers beusse a son escot, 
Et qu'il me coustast ma cornette! 
S'il sceust jouer en ung trippot, 
II eust de moy le Trou Perrette. 


Quant au regard du luminaire, 
Guillaume du Ru j'y commetz: 
Pour porter les coings du suaire, 
Aux executeurs le remetz. 
Trop plus mal me font qu'oncques mais 
Penil, cheveulx, barbe, sourcilz. 
Mal me presse; est temps desormais 
Que crie a toutes gens merciz. 

( 244 ) 

The Great Testament 


He leaves nothing to the Maistre des 
Testaments; let Colas Tacot (a young 
priest) have the fee. The end of this verse 
is obscure. 


Let Guillaume du Ru see to the lighting 
of the chapel. Let his executors choose the 

And now, being in great pain. "Penil" 
hair, beard, and eyebrows, the time has come 
to cry to all men mercy: 

"Que crie a toutes gens merciz." 

( 245 ) 

UEpiiaphe en forme de ballade 

Que feit Villon pour luy et ses compagnons, s'atten- 
dant estre pendu avec eulx. 

F RE RES humains, qui apres nous vivez, 
N'ayez les cueurs centre nous endurcis, 
Car, se pitie de nous povres avez, 
Dieu en aura plus tost de vous merciz. 
Vous nous voyez cy attachez cinq, six. 
Quant de la chair, que trop avons nourrie, 
Elle est pie9a devoree et pourrie, 
Et nous, les os, devenons cendre et pouldre. 
De nostre mal personne ne s'en rie, 
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille absouldre. 

Se vous clamons, freres, pas n'en devez 

Avoir desdaing, quoyque fusmes occis 

Par justice. Toutesfois, vous Savez 

Que tous les hommes n'ont pas bon sens assis; 

Intercedez doncques, de cueur rassis, 

Envers le Filz de la Vierge Marie, 

Que sa grace ne soit pour nous tarie, 

Nous preservant de 1'infernale fouldre. 

Nous sommes morts, ame ne nous harie; 

Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille absouldre. 

( 247 ) 

L'EpitapAe en forme de ballade 

La pluye nous a debuez et lavez, 

Et le soleil dessechez et noircis; 

Pies, corbeaulx, nous ont les yeux cavez, 

Et arrachez la barbe et les sourcilz. 

Jamais, nul temps, nous ne sommes assis; 

Puis 93, puis la, comme le vent varie, 

A son plaisir, sans cesser, nous charie, 

Plus becquetez d'oyseaulx que dez a couldre. 

Ne soyez done de nostre confrairie, 

Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille absouldre. 


Prince JESUS, qui sur tous seigneurie, 

Garde qu'Enfer n'ayt de nous la maistrie: 

A luy n'ayons que faire ne que souldre. 

Hommes, icy, n'usez de mocquerie, 

Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille absouldre. 

( 248 ) 

Ballade des dames du temps 

DICTES-MOY ou n'en quel pays, 
Est Flora, la belle Romaine? 
Archipiade, ne Thai's, 
Qui flit sa cousine germaine? 
Echo, parlant quand bruyt on maine 
Dessus riviere ou sus estan, 
Qui beaulte eut trop plus qu'humaine ? . . . 
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan! 

Oii est la tres-sage Helo'is, 
Pour qui fut chastre et puis moyne 
Pierre Esbaillart, a Sainct-Denys ? 
Pour son amour eut cest essoyne. 
Semblablement, ou est la Royne 
Qui commanda que Buridan 
Fust j ette en ung sac en Seine ? . . . 
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan! 

La royne Blanche comme ung lys, 
Qui chantoit a voix de seraine, 
Berthe au grand pied, Beatrix, Allys, 
Haremburges, qui tint le Mayne, 

( 249 ) 


Et Jehanne, la bonne Lorraine, 
Qu'Anglois bruslerent a Rouen: 
Ou sont-ilz, Vierge souveraine? 
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan! 


Prince, n'enquerez, de sepmaine, 
Ou elles sont, ne de cest an, 
Car ce refrain le vous remaine 
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan! 

( 250 ) 

Ballade des seigneurs du temps 
jadis, suyvant le propos pre- 

QUOI plus! Oii est le tiers Calixte, 
Dernier decede de ce nom, 
Qui quatre ans tint le Papaliste? 
Alphonse, le roy d'Aragon, 
Le gracieux due de Bourbon, 
Et Artus, le due de Bretaigne, 
Et Charles septiesme, le Bon ? . . . 
Mais ou est le preux Charlemaigne ! 

Semblablement, le roy Scotiste, 
Qui demy-face eut, ce dit-on, 
Vermeille comme une amathiste 
Depuis le front jusqu'au menton? 
Le Roy de Chypre, de renom, 
Helas ! et le bon Roy d'Espaigne, 
Duquel je ne S9ay pas le nom? . . . 
Mais ou est le preux Charlemaigne! 

D'en plus parler je me desiste: 
Ce n'est que toute abusion. 
II n'est qui contre mort resiste, 
Ne qui treuve provision. 

( 251 ) 


Encor fais une question: 
Lancelot, le roy de Behaigne, 
Ou est-il ? Ou est son tayon ? . . . 
Mais ou est le preux Charlemaigne ! 


Ou est Claquin, le bon Breton? 
Oii le comte Daulphin d'Auvergne, 
Et le bon feu due d'Alenon ? . . . 
Mais ou est le preux Charlemaigne! 

( 252 ) 

Ballade a ce propos, en vieil 

MAIS ou sont ly sainctz Apostoles, 
D'aulbes vestuz, d'amicts coeffez, 
Qui sont ceincts de sainctes estoles, 
Dont par le col prent ly mauffez, 
De maltalent tout eschauffez? 
Aussi bien meurt filz que servans, 
De ceste vie sont bouffez: 
Autant en emporte ly vens. 

Voire, ou soit de Constantinobles 
L'Emperier aux poings dorez, 
Ou de France ly Roy tres-nobles, 
Sur tous autres roys decorez, 
Qui, pour ly grant Dieux adorez, 
Bastist eglises et convens? 
S'en son temps il fut honorez, 
Autant en emporte ly vens. 

Ou sont de Vienne et de Grenobles 
Ly Daulphin, ly preux, ly senez? 
Ou de Dijon, Sallins et Dolles, 
Ly sires et ly filz aisnez ? 

( 253 ) 


Ou (autant de leurs gens prenez) 
Heraulx, trompettes, poursuyvans? 
Ont-ils bien boute soubz le nez ? . . . 
Autant en emporte ly vens. 


Princes a mort sont destinez, 
Comme les plus povres vivans: 
S'ils en sont courcez ou tennez, 
Autant en emporte ly vens. 

( 254 ) 

Les Regrets de la belle heaul- 

Ja Parvenue a 

AD VIS m'est que j'oy regretter 
La belle qui fut heaulmiere, 
Soy jeune fille souhaitter 
Et parler en ceste maniere: 
"Ha! viellesse felonne et fiere, 
Pourquoy m'as si tost abatue? 
Qui me tient que je ne me fiere, 
Et qu'a ce coup je ne me tue? 

"Tollu m'as ma haulte franchise, 
Que beaulte m'avoit ordonne 
Sur clercz, marchans et gens d'Eglise 
Car alors n'estoit homme ne 
Qui tout le sien ne m'eust donne, 
Quoy qu'il en fust des repentailles, 
Mais que luy eusse abandonne 
Ce que reffusent truandailles. 

"A maint homme 1'ay reffuse 

(Qui n'estoit a moy grand saigesse), 

Pour Tamour d'ung garson ruse, 

A qui je en faisoie largesse. 

( 255 ) 

Les Regrets 

A qui que je feisse finesse, 
Par m'ame, je 1'amoye bien! 
Or ne me faisoit que rudesse, 
Et ne m'amoit que pour le mien. 

"Si ne me sceut tant detrayner, 

Fouller aux piedz, que ne 1'aymasse, 

Et m'eust-il faict les rains trayner, 

S'il m'eust diet que je le baisasse 

Et que tous mes maux oubliasse, 

Le glouton, de mal entache, 

M'embrassoit . . . J'en suis bien plus grasse! 

Que m'en reste-t-il? Honte et peche. 

"Or il est mort, passe vingt ans, 
Et je remains vielle chenue. 
Quand je pense, las! au bon temps, 
Quelle fus, quelle devenue, 
Quand me regarde toute nue, 
Et je me voy si treschangee, 
Povre, seiche, maigre, menue, 
Je suis presque toute enragee. 

"Qu'est devenu ce front poly, 
Ces cheveulx blonds, sourcilz voultyz, 
Grande entr'oeil, et regard joly, 
Dont prenoye les plus subtilz, 
Ce beau nez droit, grant ne petiz, 
Ces petites joinctes oreilles, 
Menton fourchu, cler vis traictis, 
Et ces belles levres vermeilles? 

( 256 ) 

Les Regrets 

"Ces gentes espaules menues, 

Ces bras longs et ces mains traictisses, 

Petis tetins, hanches charnues, 

Eslevees, propres, faictisses 

A tenir amoureuses lysses, 

Ces larges reins, ce sadinet, 

Assis sur grosses fermes cuysses, 

Dedans son joly jardinet? 

"Le front ride, les cheveulx gris, 

Les sourcilz cheuz, les yeulx estains, 

Qui faisoient regars et ris, 

Dont maintz marchans furent attains, 

Nez courbe, de beaulte loingtains, 

Oreilles pendans et moussues, 

Le vis pally, mort et destains, 

Menton fonce, joues peaussues: 

"C'est d'humaine beaulte 1'yssues ! 

Les bras courts et les mains contraictes, 

Les espaulles toutes bossues, 

Mammelles, quoy! toutes retraictes, 

Telles les hanches que les tettes. 

Du sadinet, fy! Quand des cuysses, 

Cuysses ne sont plus, mais cuyssettes 

Grivelees comme saulcisses. 

"Ainsi le bon temps regretons 

Entre nous, pauvres vielles sottes, 

Assises bas, a croppetons, 

Tout en ung tas comme pelottes, 

A petit feu de chenevottes, 

Tost allumees, tost estainctes. 

Et jadis fusmes si mignottes ! . . . 

Ainsi emprend a maintz et maintes." 

( 257 ) 

Ballade de la belle heaulmiere 
aux filles de joie 

/^\R y pensez, belle Gantiere, 

^-^ Qui m'escoliere souliez estre, 
Et vous, Blanche la Savetiere, 
Or est-il temps de vous congnoistre! 
Prenez a dextre et a senestre, 
N'espargnez homme, je vous prie: 
Car vielles n'ont ne cours, ne estre, 
Ne que monnoye qu'on descrie. 

"Et vous, la gente Saulcissiere, 
Qui de dancer estes adextre, 
Guillemette la Tapissiere, 
Ne mesprenez vers vostre maistre: 
Tost vous fauldra clorre fenestre, 
Quand deviendrez vielle, flestrie. 
Plus ne servirez que vielle prebstre, 
Ne que monnoye qu'on descrie. 

"Jehanneton la Chaperonniere, 
Gardez qu'amy ne vous empestre. 
Katherine I'Esperonniere,, 
N 'envoy ez plus les hommes paistre. 

( 258 ) 


Car qui belle n'est ne perpetre 
Leur bonne grace, mais leur rie. 
Laide viellesse amour n'impetre, 
Ne que monnoye qu'on descrie. 


"Filles, veuillez vous entremettre 
D'escouter pourquoy pleure et crie: 
C'est pour ce que ne me puys mettre, 
Ne que monnoye qu'on descrie." 

( 259 ) 

Double ballade sur le mesme 

T)OUR ce, aymez tant que vouldrez, 
-t Suyvez assemblees et festes: 
En fin ja mieulx vous n'en vauldrez, 
Si n'y romprez, fors que vos testes. 
Folles amours font les gens bestes: 
Salomon en idolatrya, 
Samson en perdit ses lunettes. . . 
Bien heureux est qui rien n'y a! 

Orpheus, le doulx menestrier, 
Jouant de fleustes et musettes, 
En fut en dangler du meurtrier 
Chien Cerberus a quatre testes, 
Et Narcissus, beau filz honnestes, 
En ung profond puys se noya, 
Pour 1'amour de ses amourettes. . . 
Bien heureux est qui rien n'y a! 

Sardana, le preux chevalier, 
Qui conquist le regne de Cretes, 
En voulut devenir moulier 
Et filer entre pucellettes; 

( 260 ) 

Double ballade 

David le roy, saige prophetes, 
Craincte de Dieu en oublya, 
Voyant laver cuisses bien f aictes. . . 
Bien heureux est qui rien n'y a! 

Ammon en voult deshonnorer, 
Feignant de manger tartelettes, 
Sa sceur Thamar et deflorer, 
Qui fut inceste et deshonnestes ; 
Herodes (pas ne sont sornettes) 
Sainct Jean Baptiste en decolla, 
Pour dances, saultz et chansonnettes. 
Bien heureux est qui rien n'y a! 

De moy, povre, je vueil parler: 
J'en fuz batu, comme a ru telles, 
Tout nud, ja ne le quiers celer. 
Qui me f eit mascher ces groiselles, 
Fors Katherine de Vauselles? 
Noe le tiers ot, qui fut la, 
Mitaines a ces nopces telles. . . 
Bien heureux est qui rien n'y a! 

Mais que ce jeune bachelier 
Laissast ces jeunes bachelettes, 
Non! et, le deust-on vif brusler, 
Comme ung chevaucheur d'escovettes. 
Plus doulces luy sont que civettes. 
Mais toutesfoys fol s'y fia: 
Soient blanches, soient brunettes, 
Bien heureux est qui rien n'y a! 

( 261 ) 

Double ballade 


MORTZ estoient, et corps et ames, 
En damnee perdition, 
Corps pourriz, et ames en flammes, 
De quelconque condition. 
Toutesfoys, fais exception 
Des patriarches et prophetes: 
Car, selon ma conception, 
Oncques n'eurent grand chault aux fesses. 


Qui me diroit: "Qui te faict mectre 

Si tres-avant ceste parolle, 

Qui n'es en theologie maistre? 

A toy est presumption folle." 

C'est de JESUS la parabolic, 

Touchant le Riche ensevely 

En feu, non pas en couche molle, 

Et du Ladre de dessus ly. 


Se du Ladre eust veu le doigt ardre, 
Ja n'en eust requis refrigere, 
N'au bout d'icelluy doigt aherdre, 
Pour refreschir sa maschouere. 
Pions y feront mate chere, 
Qui boyvent pourpoinct et chemise. 
Puisque boyture y est si chere, 
Dieu nous garde de la main raise! 

( 262 ) 

Double ballade 


Ou nom de Dieu, comme j'ay diet, 
Et de sa glorieuse Mere, 
Sans peche soit parfaict ce diet, 
Par moy, plus maigre que chimere. 
Si je n'ay eu fievre ou fumere, 
Ce m'a faict divine clemence, 
Mais d'autre mal et perte amere 
Je me tays, et ainsi commence: 

( 263 ) 

Ballade que feit Villon a la Re- 
queste de sa Mtre, pour prier 

DAME du ciel, regente terrienne, 
Emperiere des infernaulx paluz, 
Recevez-moy vostre humble chrestierme: 
Que comprinse soye entre vos esleuz, 
Ce non obstant qu'oncques rien ne valuz. 
Les biens de vous, ma dame et ma maistresse, 
Sont trop plus grans que ne suis pecheresse, 
Sans lesquelz biens ame ne peult merir 
N'avoir les cieulx. Je n'en suis menteresse: 
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir. 

A vostre Filz dictes que je suis sienne: 
De luy soyent mes pechez aboluz. 
Pardonnez-moy, comme a 1'Egyptienne, 
Ou comme il feit au cler Theophilus, 
Lequel par vous fut quitte et absoluz, 
Combien qu'il eust au diable faict promesse. 
Preservez-moy que je n'accomplisse ce! 
Vierge, portant, sans rompure encourir, 
Le sacrement qu'on celebre a la messe. . . 
En ceste foy j e vueil vivre et mourir. 

( 264 ) 


Femme je suis povrette et ancienne, 
Qui riens ne S9ay, oncques lettre ne leuz; 
Au monstier voy dont suis parroissienne, 
Paradis painct, ou sont harpes et luz, 
Et ung enfer oil damnez sont boulluz; 
L'ung me faict paour, Fautre joye et liesse. 
La joye avoir fais-moy, haulte Deesse, 
A qui pecheurs doivent tous recourir, 
Comblez de foy, sans faincte ne paresse. . . 
En ceste foy e vueil vivre et mourir. 


Vous portastes, Vierge, digne princesse, 
JESUS regnant, qui n'a ne fin ne cesse. 
Le Tout-Puissant, prenant nostre foiblesse, 
Laissa les cieulx et nous vint secourir, 
OfFrist a mort sa tres-chere jeunesse. 
Nostre Seigneur est tel, j e le conf esse. . c 
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir. 

( 265 ) 

Ballade de Villon a s'amye 

FAULSE beaulte, qui tant me couste cher, 
Rude en effect, hypocrite doulceur, 
Amour dure plus que fer a mascher: 
Nommer te puis de ma deffa9on sceur. 
Cherme felon, la mort d'ung povre cueur, 
Orgueil musse, qui gens met au mourir, 
Yeulx sans pitie! Ne veult droict de rigueur, 
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir? 

Mieulx m'eust valu avoir este crier 
Ailleurs secours, c'eust este mon bonheur: 
Rien ne m'eust sceu de ce fait arracher. 
Trotter m'en fault en fuyte a deshonneur. 
Haro, haro, le grant et le mineur! 
Et qu'est cecy? Mourray sans coup ferir, 
Ou pitie peult, selon ceste teneur, 
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir. 

Ung temps viendra, qui fera desseicher, 
Jaulnir, flestrir, vostre espanie fleur: 
J en risse lors, s'enfant peusse marcher, 
Mais las ! nenny. Ce seroit done foleur. 

( 266 ) 

Ballade de Villon a s'amye 

Vieil je seray; vous, laide et sans couleur. 
Or, beuvez fort, tant que ru peult courir. 
Ne donnez pas a tous ceste douleur, 
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir. 


Prince amour eux, des amans le greigneur, 
Vostre mal gre ne vouldroye encourir, 
Mais tout franc cueur doit, pour Nostre Seigneur, 
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir. 

( 267 ) 

Lay, ou plustost rondeau 

MORT, j'appelle de ta rigueur, 
Qui as ma maistresse ravie, 
Et n'es pas encore assouvie 
Se tu ne me tiens en langueur. 

One puis n'euz force ne vigueur! 
Mais que te nuy soit-elle en vie, 

Deux estions, et n'avions qu'ung cueur! 
S'il est mort, force est que devie, 
Voire, ou que je vive sans vie, 
Comme les images, par cueur, 

( 268 ) 

Ballade et Oraison 

PERE Noe, qui plantastes la vigne, 
Vous aussi, Loth, qui busies au rocher, 
Par tel party, qu' Amour, qui gens engigne, 
De vos filles si vous felt approcher 
(Pas ne le dy pour le vous reprocher), 
Architriclin, qui bien sceustes cest art: 
Tous trois vous pry que vous vueillez percher 
L'ame du bon feu maistre Jehan Cotart ! 

II fut jadis extraict de vostre ligne, 
Luy qui beuvoit du meilleur et plus cher, 
Et ne deust-il avoir vaillant ung pigne, 
Certes, sur tous, c'estoit un bon archer. 
On ne luy sceut pot des mains arracher, 
Car de bien boire oncques ne fut faitart. 
Nobles seigneurs, ne souffrez empescher 
L'ame du bon feu maistre Jehan Cotart! 

Comme homme beu qui chancelle et trepigne, 
L'ay veu souvent, quand il s'alloit coucher, 
Et une foys il se feit une bigne, 
Bien m'en souvient, a Festal d'ung boucher. 

( 269 ) 

Ballade et Oraison 

Brief, on n'eust sceu en ce monde chercher 
Meilleur pion, pour boire tost et tart. 
Faictes entrer, quant vous orrez hucher, 
L'ame du bon feu maistre Jehan Cotart. 


Prince, il n'eust sceu jusqu'a terre cracher. 
Tous jours crioit: Haro, la gorge m'ard! 
Et si ne sceut oncq sa soif estancher, 
L'ame du bon feu maistre Jehan Cotart, 

( 270 ) 

Ballade que Villon donna a ung 
gentilhomme nouvellement 

marie^ pour r envoy er a son 
espouse^ par luy conquise a 

AU poinct du jour, que 1'esparvier se bat, 
Meu de plaisir, et par noble coustume, 
Bruyt il demaine et de joye s'esbat, 
Re9oit son past et se joint a la plume: 
Offrir vous vueil (a ce desir m'allume) 
Joyeusement ce qu'aux amans bon semble, 
Si qu'Averroys 1'escript en son volume, 
Et c'est la fin pourquoy sommes ensemble. 

Dame serez de mon cueur, sans debat, 
Entierement, jusques mort me consume, 
Laurier soiief qui pour mon droit combat, 
Olivier franc m'ostant toute amertume. 
Raison ne veult que je desacoutume 
(Et en ce vueil avec elle m'assemble) 
De vous servir, mais que m'y accoustume, 
Et c'est la fin pourquoy sommes ensemble. 

( 271 ) 


Et qui plus est, quant dueil sur moy s'embat, 

Par fortune qui souvent si se fume, 

Vostre doulx ceil sa malice rebat, 

Ne plus ne moins que le vent f aict la fume. 

Si ne perds pas le graine que je sume 

En vostre champ, car le fruict me ressemble: 

Dieu m'ordonne que le harse et fume, 

Et c'est la fin pourquoy sommes ensemble. 


Princesse, oyez ce que cy vous resume: 
Que le mien cueur du vostre desassemble, 
Ja ne sera, tant de vous en presume, 
Et c'est la fin pourquoy sommes ensemble. 

( 272 ) 


EN reagal, en arsenic rocher, 
En orpigment, en salpestre et chaulx vive; 
En plomb boillant, pour mieulx les esmorcher; 
En suif et poix, destrampez de lessive 
Faicte d'estrons et de pissat de Juifve; 
En lavaille de jambes a meseaulx; 
En raclure de piedz et vieulx houseaulx; 
En sang d'aspic et drogues venimeuses; 
En fiels de loups, de regnards et blereaux, 
Solent frittes ces langues envieuses! 

En cervelle de chat qui hayt pescher, 
Noir, et si vieil qu'il n'ait dent et gencive; 
D'ung vieil mastin, qui vault bien aussi cher, 
Tout enrage, en sa bave et salive; 
En Tescume d'une mulle poussive, 
Detrenchee menu a bons ciseaulx; 
En eau oil ratz plongent groings et museaulx, 
Raines, crapauds et bestes dangereuses, 
Serpens, lezards et telz nobles oyseaulx, 
Soient frittes ces langues envieuses! 

En sublime, dangereux a toucher, 
Et au nombril d'une couleuvre vive; 
En sang qu'on veoit es pallectes secher, 
Chez ces barbiers, quand plaine lune arrive, 
Dont Tung est noir, 1'autre plus vert que cive; 

( 273 ) 


En chancre et ficz, et en ces ords cuveaulx 
Oii nourrices essangent leurs drappeaulx; 
En petits baings de filles amoureuses 
(Qui ne m'entend n'a suivy les bordeaulx), 
Soient frittes ces langues envieuses! 


Prince, passez tous ces friands morceaulx, 
S'estamine n'avez, sacs ou bluteaux, 
Parmy le fons d'une brayes breneuses. 
Mais, paravant, en estrons de pourceaulx, 
Soient frittes ces langues envieuses! 

( 274 ) 

Ballade intitulte, "Les Contre- 
dictx de Franc-Gontier" 

SUR mol duvet assis, ung gras chanoine, 
Lez ung brasier, en chambre bien nattee, 
A son coste gisant dame Sydoine, 
Blanche, tendre, pollie et attainted 
Boire ypocras, a jour et a nuyctee, 
Rire, jouer, mignoter et baiser, 
Et nud a nud, pour mieulx des corps ayser, 
Les vy tous deux, par un trou de mortaise. 
Lors je congneuz que, pour dueil appaiser, 
II n'est tresor que de vivre a son aise. 

Se Franc-Gontier et sa compaigne Helaine 
Eussent tousjours cest' douce vie hantee, 
D'oignons, civotz, qui causent forte alaine, 
N'en mangeassent bise croute frottee. 
Tout leur mathon, ne toute leur potee, 
Ne prise ung ail, je le dy sans noysier. 
S'ilz se vantent coucher soubz le rosier, 
Ne vault pas mieulx lict costoye de chaise? 
Qu'en dictes-vous? Faut-il a ce muser? 
II n'est tresor que de vivre a son aise. 

( 275 ) 


De gros pain bis vivent, d'orge, d'avoine, 

Et boivent eau toute le long de 1'annee. 

Tous les oyseaulx, d'icy en Babyloine, 

A tel escot, une seule journee, 

Ne me tiendroient, non une matinee. 

Or s'esbate, de par Dieu, Franc-Gontier, 

Helaine o hiy, soubz le bel esglantier: 

Se bien leur est, n'ay cause qu'il me poise. 

Mais, quoy qu'il soit du laboureux mestier, 

II n'est tresor que de vivre a son aise. 


Prince, jugez, pour tous nous accorder. 
Quant est a moy, mais qu'a nul n'en desplaise, 
Petit enfant, j'ay ouy recorder 
Qu'il n'est tresor que de vivre a son aise. 

( 276 ) 

Ballade des femmes de Paris 

QUOY qu'on tient belles langagieres 
Florentines, Veniciennes, 
Assez pour estre messaigieres, 
Et mesmement les anciennes; 
Mais, soient Lombardes, Rommaines, 
Genevoyses, a mes perilz, 
Piemontoises, Savoysiennes, 
II n'est bon bee que de Paris. 

De beau parler tiennent chayeres, 
Ce dit-on, Neapolitaines, 
Et que sont bonnes caquetieres 
Allemandes et Prussiennes; 
Soient Grecques, Egyptiennes, 
De Hongrie ou d'autre pays, 
Espaignolles ou Castellennes, 
II n'est bon bee que de Paris. 

Brettes, Suysses, n'y s^avent gueres, 
Ne Gasconnes et Thoulouzaines ; 
Du Petit-Pont deux harangeres 
Les concluront, et les Lorraines, 

( 277 ) 

Ballade des femmes de Paris 

Angloises ou Calaisiennes 

(Ay-je beaucoup de lieux compris?), 

Picardes, de Valenciennes. . . 

II n'est bon bee que de Paris. 


Prince, aux dames Parisiennes, 
De bien parler donnez le prix. 
Quoy qu'on die d'ltaliennes, 
II n'est bon bee que de Paris. 

( 278 ) 

Ballade de Villon et de la Grosse 

SE j'ayme et sers la belle, de bon haict, 
M'en devez-vous tenir ne vil ne sot? 
Elle a en soy des biens a fin souhaict. 
Pour son amour, ceings bouclier et passot. 
Quand viennent gens, je cours, et happe un pot: 
Au vin m'en voys, sans demener grant bruyt. 
Je leur tendz eau, frommage, pain et fruict. 
S'ils payent bien, je leur dy: "Que bien stail 
Retournez cy, Quand vous serez en ruyt, 
En ce bourdeau, ou tenons nostre estat"! 

Mais, tost apres, il y a grant deshait, 

Quand sans argent s'en vient coucher Margot: 

Veoir ne la puis, mon cueur a mort la hait. 

Sa robe prens, demy-ceinct et surcot: 

Si luy prometz qu'ilz tiendront pour 1'escot. 

Par les costez ze prend, cest Antechrist; 

Crie et jure, par la mort Jesuchrist, 

Que non sera. Lors j'empongne ung esclat, 

Dessus le nez luy en fais ung escript, 

En ce bourdeau, ou tenons nostre estat. 

( 279 ) 


Puis, paix se faict, et me lasche ung gros pet, 
Plus enflee qu'ung venimeux scarbot; 
Riant, m'assiet son poing sur mon sommet, 
Gogo me dit, et me fiert le jambot. 
Tous deux yvres, dormons comme ung sabot, 
Et, au reveil, quand le ventre luy bruyt, 
Monte sur moy, que ne gaste son fruict. 
Soubz elle geins, plus qu'ung aiz me faict plat, 
De paillarder tout elle me destruict, 
En ce bourdeau, ou tenons nostre estat. 


Vente, gresle, gelle, j'ay mon pain cuict! 
Je suis paillard, la paillarde me duit. 
Lequel vault mieux? Chascun bien s'entresuit, 
L'ung 1'autre vault: c'est a mau chat mau rat. 
Ordure amons, ordure nous affuyt; 
Nous deffuyons honneur, il nous deffuyt, 
En ce bourdeau, ou tenons nostre estat. 

( 280 ) 

Belle Lecon de Villon aux enfans 

BEAULX enfans, vous perdez la plus 
Belle rose de vo chapeau, 
Mes clercs apprenans comme gluz. 
Si vous allez a Montpippeau 
Ou a Ruel, gardez la peau: 
Car, pour s'esbatre en ces deux lieux, 
Cuydant que vaulsist le rappeau, 
La perdit Colin de Cayeulx. 

Ce n'est pas ung jeu de trois mailles, 
Oii va corps, et peut-estre Tame: 
S'on perd, rien n'y vault repentailles, 
Qu'on ne meure a honte et diffame; 
Et qui gaigne n'a pas a femme 
Dido la royne de Carthage. 
L'homme est done bien fol et infame 
Qui pour si peu couche tel gage. 

Qu'ung chascun encore m'escoute: 
On dit, et il est verite, 
Que charreterie se boyt toute, 
Au feu l'hyver, au bois 1'este. 
S'argent avez, il n'est ente, 
Mais le despendez tost et viste. 
Qui en voyez-vous herite? 
Jamais mal acquest ne proufite. 

( 281 ) 

Ballade de bonne doctrine 

A Ceux de mauvaise vie 

CAR or' soyes porteur de bulles, 
Pipeur ou hazardeur de dez, 
Tailleur de faulx coings, tu te brusles, 
Comme ceux qui sont eschaudez; 
Traistres pervers, de foy vuydez, 
Soyes larron, ravis ou pilles: 
Ou en va 1'acquest, que cuydez? 
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles. 

Ryme, raille, cymballe, luttes, 
Comme folz, faintis, eshontez; 
Farce, broille, joue des flustes; 
Fais, es villes et es citez, 
Fainctes, jeux et moralitez; 
Gaigne au berlan, au glic, aux quilles: 
Oii s'en va tout? Or escoutez: 
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles. 

De telz ordures te reculles; 
Laboure, fauche champs et prez; 
Sers et panse chevaulx et mulles, 
S'aucunement tu n'es lettrez; 

( 282 ) 

Ballade de bonne doctrine 

Assez auras, se prens en grez. 
Mais, se chanvre broyes ou tilles, 
Ou tendront labours qu'as ouvrez? 
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles. 


Chausses, pourpoinctz esguilletez, 
Robes, et toutes vos drapilles, 
Ains que soient usez, vous portez 
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles. 

( 283 ) 


AU retour de dure prison 
Oii j 'ay laisse presque la vie, 
Se Fortune a sur moy envie, 
Jugez s'elle fait mesprison! 
II me semble que, par raison, 
Elle deust bien estre assouvie, 
Au retour. 

Cecy plain est de desraison, 
Qui vueille que du tout desvie. 
Plaise a Dieu que Tame ravie 
En soit, lassus, en sa maison, 
Au retour! 

( 284 ) 








( 285 ) 


REPOS eternel donne a cil, 
Sire, clarte perpetuelle, 
Qui vaillant plat ny escuelle 
N'eut oncques, n'ung brin de percil. 
II flit rez, chef, barbe, sourcil, 
Comme ung navet qu'on ret et pelle. 
Repos ! 

Rigueur le transmit en exil, 
Et luy frappa au cul la pelle, 
Nonobstant qu'il dist: J'en appelle! 
Qui n'est pas terme trop subtil. 
Repos ! 

( 286 ) 

Ballade pour laquelle Villon crye 
mercy a chascun 

A CHARTREUX et a Celestins, 
** A Mendians et a devotes, 
A musars et cliquepatins, 
A servans et filles mignottes, 
Portant surcotz et justes cottes; 
A cuyderaulx, d'amours transis, 
Chaussans sans meshaing f auves bottes : 
Je crye a toutes gens merciz! 

A filles monstrans leurs tetins 
Pour avoir plus largement hostes; 
A ribleux meneurs de hutins, 
A basteleurs traynans marmottes, 
A folz et folles, sotz et sottes, 
Qui s'en vont sifflant cinq et six; 
A veufves et a mariottes: 
Je crye a toutes gens merciz! 

Sinon aux traistres chiens mastins, 
Qui m'ont fait manger dures crostes 
Et boire eau maintz soirs et matins, 
Qu'ores je ne crains pas trois crottes. 

( 287 ) 


Pour eulx je feisse petz et rottes; 
Je ne puis, car je suis assis. 
An fort, pour eviter riottes, 
Je crye a toutes gens merciz! 


S'on leur froissoit les quinze costes 
De gros maillets, fortz et massis, 
De plombee et de telz pelottes, 
Je crye a toutes gens merciz! 

( 288 ) 

Ballade pour servir de con- 

ICI se clost le Testament, 
Et finist, du povre Villon, 
Venez a son enterrement, 
Quant vous orrez le carillon, 
Vestuz rouges com vermilion, 
Car en amours mourut martir. 
Ce jura-il sur son callon, 
Quand de ce monde voult partir. 

Et je croy bien que pas ne ment, 
Car chassie fut, comme un soullon, 
De ses amours hayneusement, 
Tant que, d'icy a Roussillon, 
Brosse n'y a ne brossillon 
Qui n'eust, ce dit-il sans mentir, 
Ung lambeau de son cotillon, 
Quand de ce monde voult partir. 

II est ainsi, et tellement, 
Quand mourut n'avoit qu'ung haillon. 
Qui plus, en mourant, mallement 
L'espoingnoit ? D'amours 1'esguillon, 

( 289 ) 


Plus agu que le ranguillon 
D'un baudrier, luy faisoit sentir 
(C'est de quoy nous esmerveillon), 
Quand de ce monde voult partir. 


Prince, gent comme esmerillon, 
Saichiez qu'il fist, au departir: 
Ung traict but de vin morillon, 
Quand de ce monde voult partir. 


( 290 ) 

Epistre en forme de ballade, a 
ses amis 

A YEZ pitie, ayez pitie de moy, 
*^ A tout le moms, si vous plaist, mes amis ! 
En fosse giz, non pas soubz houx ne may, 
En cest exil ouquel je suis transmis 
Par fortune, comme Dieu 1'a permis. 
Filles, amans, jeunes, vieulx et nouveaulx; 
Danceurs, saulteurs, faisans les piez de veaux, 
Vifs comme dars, agus comme aguillon; 
Gousiers tintans, clers comme gastaveaux: 
Le lesserez la, le povre Villon? 

Chantres chantans a plaisance, sans loy; 
Galans, rians, plaisans en faictz et diz; 
Coureux, allans, francs de faulx or, d'aloy; 
Gens d'esperit, ung petit estourdiz: 
Trop demourez, car il meurt entandiz. 
Faiseurs de laiz, de motets et rondeaux, 
Quand mort sera, vous luy ferez chandeaux. 
II n'entre, ou gist, n'escler ne tourbillon; 
De murs espois on luy a fait bandeaux: 
Le lesserez la, le povre Villon? 

( 291 ) 

Epistre en forme de ballade 

Venez le veoir en ce piteux arroy, 
Nobles hommes, francs de quars et de dix, 
Qui ne tenez d'empereur ne de roy, 
Mais seulement de Dieu de Par'adiz: 
Jeuner luy fault dimanches et mardiz, 
Dont les dens a plus longues que ratteaux; 
Apres pain sec, non pas apres gasteaux, 
En ses boyaulx verse eau a gros bouillon; 
Bas enterre, table n'a, ne tretteaux: 
Le lesserez la, le povre Villon? 


Princes nommez, anciens, jouvenceaux, 
Impetrez-moy graces et royaulx sceaux, 
Et me montez en quelque corbillon. 
Ainsi le font Tun a 1'autre pourceaux, 
Car, ou Tun brait, ilz fuyent a monceaux. 
Le lesserez la, le povre Villon? 

( 292 ) 


BON jour, bon an, bonne semaine, 
Honneur, sante, joye prochaine, 
Perseverer de bien en mieulx 
Et joye d'amours vous doint Dieux, 
Ce jour present, en bonne estraine, 
Dame belle trop plus qu'Helaine, 
Tous jours d'argent la bourse plaine, 
Vivre longtemps sans estre vieulx; 
Bon jour, bon an, bonne semaine. 

Apres ceste vie mondaine, 

Avoir la joye souveraine: 

De la ravis lassus es cieulx, 

Ou nous nous puissions veoir joyeux 

Sans jamais sentir grief ne paine; 

Bon jour, bon an, bonne semaine. 

( 293 ) 





NTENS a moy, vray dieu d 'amours, 
Et faiz que la mort ait son cours 

Car j'ay mal employ^ mes jours. 
Je meurs en aymant par amours 

Languir me fault en griefs doulours. 

( 295 ) 

Ballade contre les mesdisans de 
la France 

RENCONTRE soit de bestes feu gectans 
Que Jason vit, querant la Toison d'or; 
Ou transmue d'homme en beste, sept ans, 
Ainsi que fut Nabugodonosor ; 
Ou bien ait perte aussi griefve et villaine 
Que les Troyens pour la prinse d'Helaine; 
Ou avalle soit avec Tantalus 
Et Proserpine aux infernaulx pallus; 
Ou plus que Job soit en griefve souffrance, 
Tenant prison en la court Dedalus, 
Qui mal vouldroit au royaume de France! 

Quatre mois soit en un vivier chantant, 
La teste au fons, ainsi que le butor; 
Ou au Grand Turc vendue argent comptant, 
Pour estre mis au harnois comme ung tor; 
Ou trente ans soit, comme la Magdelaine, 
Sans vestir drap de linge ne de laine; 
Ou noye soit, comme fut Narcisus 
Ou aux cheveiix, comme Absalon, pendus, 
Ou comme fut Judas, par desperance; 
Ou puist mourir comme Simon Magus, 
Qui mal vouldroit au royaume de France! 

( 296 ) 


D'Octovien puisse venir le temps: 

C'est qu'on luy coule au ventre son trcsor; 

Ou qu'il soit mis entre meules rotans, 

En un moulin, comme fut sainct Victor; 

Ou transgloutis en la mer, sans halaine, 

Pis que Jonas au corps de la balaine; 

Ou soit banny de la clarte Phoebus, 

Des biens Juno et du soulas Venus, 

Et du grant Dieu soit mauldit a outrance, 

Ainsi que fut roy Sardanapalus, 

Qui mal vouldroit au royaume de France! 


Prince, porte soit des clers Eolus, 

En la forest ou domine Glocus, 

Ou prive soit de paix et d'esperance, 

Car digne n'est de posseder vertus, 

Qui mal vouldroit au royaume de France! 

( 297 ) 

Le Debat du Cueur et du Corps 
de Villon en forme de Ballade 

QU'EST-CE que j'oy? 
Ce suis-je. 


Ton Cueur, 

Qui ne tient mais qu'a ung petit filet. 
Force n'ay plus, substance ne liqueur, 
Quand je te voy retraict ainsi seulet, 
Com provre chien tappy en recullet. 
Pourquoy est-ce? 

Pour ta folle plaisance. 
Que t'en chault-il? 

J'en ay la desplaisance. 
Laisse m'en paix! 

Pourquoy ? 

J'y penseray. 
Quand sera-ce? 

Quand seray hors d'enfance. 
Plus ne t'en dy. 

Et je m'en passeray. 
Que penses-tu? 

Estre homme de valeur. 
Tu as trente ans. 

C'est 1'aage d'ung mulct. 

( 298 ) 


Est-ce enfance? 


C'est done folleur 
Qui te saisit? 

Par oft? 

Par le collet. 
Rien ne congnois. 

Si fais: mouches en laict: 
L'ung est blanc, 1'autre est noir, c'est la distance. 
Est-ce done tout? 

Que veulx-tu que je tance? 
Si n'est assez, je recommenceray. 
Tu es perdu! 

J'y mettray resistance. 
Plus ne t'en dy. 

Et je m'en passeray. 

ay le dueil; toi, le mal et douleur. 
Si fusse ung povre ydiot et folet, 
Au cueur eusses de t'excuser couleur: 
Se n'as-tu soing, tout ung tel, bel ou laid, 
Ou la teste as plus dure qu'ung jalet, 
Ou mieulx te plaist qu'honneur ceste meschance. 
Que repondras a ceste consequence? 
J'en seray hors, quand je trespasseray. 
Dieu! quel confort! 

Quelle saige eloquence! 
Plus ne t'en dy. 

Et je m'en passeray. 
D'ond vient ce mal? 

II vient de mon malheur. 

( 299 ) 


Quand Saturne me feit mon fardelet, 
Ces maulx y mist, je le croy. 

C'est foleur: 

Son seigneur es, et te tiens son valet. 
Voy, Salomon escript en son roulet: 
"Homme sage, ce dit-il, a puissance 
Sur les planetes et sur leur influence." 

Je n'en croy rien: tel qu'ils m'ont faict seray. 

Que dis-tu? 


Certes, c'est ma creance. 

Plus ne t'en dy. 

Et je m'en passeray. 


Veux-tu vivre? 

Dieu m'en doint la puissance! 

II te fault. . . 


Remors de conscience; 

Lire sans fin. 

Et en quoy? 

En science. 

Laisse les folz! 

Bien! j'y adviseray. 

Or le retiens? 

J'en ay bien souvenance. 
N'attends pas trop, que tourne a desplaisance 

Plus ne t'en dy. 

Et je m'en passeray. 




Tan Dillon, Frangois 

B? VilL 6 P emS f Fran5 i3